Regardless of your thoughts on the Windows operating system, there’s no denying that with the likes of Windows XP, 7 and now 10 that Microsoft continues to maintain its popularity. Whether it’s used for personal purposes or in an office environment, users can trust in Win 10 and the many advanced solutions that it comes with. However, there is one particular feature that the latest OS from Microsoft inherited from its predecessors, namely the option to handle faxes without the need an actual fax machine. Granted, this requires installing additional hardware but, actually, there are other, perhaps even better solutions with which Windows 10 computers can be used to send and receive fax messages.
Option 1: Windows Fax and Scan
Not too many users know of it, but Windows 10 actually has a built-in faxing solution, Windows Fax and Scan, which has been part of every Windows version since the release of Windows 7. The reason behind this its obscurity is that, by default, this program is hidden from average users until activated from within the Control Panel. In addition to that, making the Windows Fax and Scan feature natively accessible is completely pointless unless the computer has either an internal or external fax modem that has been properly configured via the software’s interface.
However, once everything is up and running – and it’s also been made sure that the line won’t be busy when faxing is in progress – sending and receiving an unlimited number of faxes with Windows’s own program is a breeze.
Option 2: Using Advanced Fax Machines
Admittedly, Windows Fax and Scan is an optimal solution for many users, but if you already have the necessary hardware in the form of an actual fax machine, then maybe installing both the program and a fax modem just isn’t worth it. As a matter of fact, thanks to their support of USB or Ethernet connections, many modern fax machines and multifunctional printers with faxing capabilities can simply be controlled from a computer via the browser-based interface where all of the functions for the device are found.
At first, this approach seems perfect – especially for those who want to keep their existing hardware while enjoying computer-based faxing – but, actually, it isn’t flawless. For starters, the fax functionality of all-in-one printers and the option to connect fax machines to PCs are features that are only available for business-grade IP devices. And not only that but keeping onto the fax machine is both a potential money pit due to its high maintenance costs and does not answer any of the common issues surrounding such a solution like occupied lines or preventing unauthorized people from snatching the printed message from the device’s tray.
Option 3: Online Fax Services
While both of the previous two approaches have their respective pros and cons, those who want to enjoy all the benefits of faxing with none of the hassle will want to turn to online fax services.
For instance, Windows 10 users can opt for free online solutions like FaxZero, which is ideal if they only want to send short faxes on an occasional basis and don’t need a fax account to receive their own messages. Interestingly, a similar solution, WiseFax, can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store in a Windows 10 app format. Although it isn’t free – its costs depend on the number of pages and the location of the recipient – WiseFax doesn’t require either a subscription or a fax number to use the service, and nor is there a limit on the number of faxes and their pages.
Still, the preferable choice is to subscribe to a professional online faxing service such as eFax, SRFax, or RingCentral. These solutions not only provide hundreds if not thousands of free fax pages on a monthly basis, but they also come with many extras like mobile support, a convenient browser-based fax manager, military-grade encryption for both inbound and outbound messages, the option to send faxes from an associated email address and, most importantly, an uninterrupted service that doesn’t hog the phone line.