Home > Technical Articles > General Troubleshooting for Fax Receiving

In most cases, reliable fax receiving should occur after doing basic setup . If you are experiencing problems, below are some additional things to look at:

1. Configuration Factors. These are settings that can be changed inside of EssentialFax.

Lower the Transfer Rate, especially if using a USB modem: In many situations the faxmodem simply cannot handle higher transfer speeds, for example, due to telephone line noise. Transfer rates above 9600 are usually too high. If your transfer rate is set above 9600, try changing it to 9600, 7200, or 4800 and see if this helps with receiving faxes. You should also do this if the first page of a multiple fax is OK, but the rest of the pages are blank

For certain USB modems made by Conexant or DELL, it may be necessary to use a transfer rate of 4800. If the modem answers incoming calls, but fails to establish a fax session and ends with a Fatal Timeout Error - then try using a transfer rate of 4800.

This is accessed via the Preferences screen as Item #16 Transfer Rate.

Add a modem reset command : Other communications software, such as Internet browsers, phone dialers, and so forth, can leave the modem in a state that is unworkable for faxing. Try using the Modem Reset Strings on the Modem page of the Preferences (Program Settings) dialog box. These commands are used to instruct the modem to return to its default settings. Normally you can use ATZ for the BEFORE string, and ATZ for the AFTER string. Some modems work better with AT&F in both the BEFORE and AFTER strings. Still other modems work better without any reset string at all. Try all of these and see if this helps. This is accessed via the Preferences screen as Item #3 Modem Reset.

Adjust the modem initialization commands: If you already have tried the recommended initialization strings, try erasing them. With some modems they can hurt, rather than help, the fax session. If you are not having problems, do not change the initialization string. This is accessed via the Preferences screen as Item #17 Initialization strings

Turn off Fax Error Control: Clear Fax Error Control if you are currently using it. Only a few modems support it, and it can cause negotiation problems. This is accessed via the Preferences screen as Item #20 Fax Error Control.

You may need to have EssentialFax reset the modem between calls: Usually, you should leave this cleared; however if you experience one of the following conditions, try checking this option:

1. If the first fax received is OK, but subsequent faxes fail to receive.
2. If a failed received fax causes subsequent incoming faxes to fail.

This is accessed via the Preferences screen as Item #22b Reset Modem Between Calls.


2. Wiring and Hardware Factors

Test that phone cable is working properly: Sometimes an old or damaged phone cable is the culprit, causing line noise. Change the phone cable from your modem to the wall outlet. We can't count the number of times the problem was simply an old worn out phone cable, or another of the items below, and no amount of software settings were going to work around it.

Make sure the phone line splitter is not interfering: If you use a phone line splitter, which plugs into a single phone outlet and turns it into two or more outlets, try plugging from the modem directly to the outlet without the splitter. Some splitters are known to greatly decrease line quality. If you have an alternate phone line, try plugging your faxmodem into it instead.

Check that the telephone is not interfering: If you have a telephone connected between the faxmodem and the wall outlet, disconnect the telephone and plug the fax in directly, and see if that helps.

Use the right modem socket: If there are two phone sockets on your modem, make sure that the telephone cord is connected only to the one labeled "line/wall" -- do not use the one labeled "phone/ext"

Cable and DSL considerations: If you get your phone service though the cable company, or have DSL, please review the hookup instructions on this page.


3. Other software

Background software: It is rare, but some software that stays running all of the time, such as a dialog box saver or virus scanner, can disrupt fax operations while running in the background. While this is not usually the case, it can happen. If you have such software running, temporarily disable it to see if that resolves the problem.

Communications software: Some programs we are aware of that may restrict access to the telephone line or modem: Palm Hotsync, Winfax, Microsoft Fax Service. Try turning these off temporarily and see if that helps.

Security software: Some anti-virus programs may block access to your 56k modem unless you give permission for programs to use it (i.e. Trend Micro Internet Security, McAfee security software, Computer Associates security software). Try turning these off temporarily, or if possible, change their settings to allow other programs to access the modem and communications ports.

If these recommendations do not solve the problem, please contact technical support and be sure to fully describe the problem and its symptoms. Always include a copy of your configuration information by clicking Help > Configuration Information.