Very ocasionally, I find the need to scan a simple document or fax a page or two. I don't own a fax machine (and have no plans on getting one), and my computer has a perfectly good modem and scanner capable of doing these things.

Now, Windows Vista includes Windows Fax and Scan, a simple enough program capable of doing both of the things I require. it's simple enough and included with Vista, which makes it the obvious choice for my very simple needs. To be honest, the tool works well enough, and I'd say it meets about 99% of my needs.

However, it can also drive me crazy at times because of two very simple, yet stupid limitations:

  • No multi-page TIFF Scans: It would appear this option is supported, but for some reason the corresponding checkbox in the UI is always grayed out. I can live without this, as I can use a secondary tool to stitch all pages together into a single multi-page TIFF file at the end, but it's bothersome.
  • No way to force a send: If sending a fax fails for any reason (say, line is busy), Windows Fax and Scan will attempt to retry the send on it's own automatically. That's fine, except there does not seem to be a clear way (to me at least) to configure how often the retries are made. Much worse, there does not appear to be a way to force it to send faxes in the outbox right away. Many times I've been forced to use the "Forward as Fax" option to create a new fax and send it and delete the older one just to be able to get rid of it. Very annoying.

Anyone has a recommendation for a simple to use, preferably free, scan and fax tool?

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Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.