Fax to PC on HP Officejet 4500

This post was written by eli on December 17, 2012
Posted Under: Software

I bought the Officejet 4500 to be able to send and receive faxes every now and then, use it as a scanner, and actually never print with it. I’m not sure I would recommend this to anyone. Not that it matters much, as it’s pretty phased out. Anyhow, the overall feeling about this machine and its software is that it looks for any excuse in the world to waste some ink. After all, ink is what HP makes its profits from.

The device (including its fax) refuses to do anything without ink cartridges with a good level of ink installed. Since I don’t intend to print at all, my main concern is that the ink will dry out, and I won’t be able to fax with it a few years from now, with no spare parts available.

Sometimes the machine won’t power up completely (with the exclamation sign blinking) unless there is paper loaded. It’s like the printer prepares to hijack some paper for something I never wanted it to do.

Many years ago, HP represented decent engineering. They’ve gone a long way since.

OK, to the point

First, FAX to PC must be activated on the PC side. In the HP solution center, click Settings, hover over “More Fax Settings” and pick “Digital Fax Setup Wizard”. This setting has most likely been completed during installation (a destination folder set up etc.).

If the Fax to PC feature has been (accidentally) disactivated on the printer, pick “Fax Settings” in the HP solution center, on the “Digital Fax Settings” tab make sure to activate the feature.

Then, on the printer, press the button with the wrench (“Tools”) > Fax Settings > Fax to PC and press the right arrow button until it says “Fax Print: Off” and then press OK. Don’t get confused by the part that says “Fax to PC: Off”: It isn’t really off, but it will be when pressing OK (and the fix above applies). An asterisk next to the setting indicates that it’s active, otherwise that state will become active only when pressing OK.

To receive a fax manually, press the left arrow as necessary to move the triangle to its leftmost position, press the green (“Start”?) button and the “2″ button for receiving a fax (with the phone off hook at least).

Remember that the HP Digital Imaging Monitor must be active for the fax to be received to the computer.

After a fax has arrived, a new file is silently generated in the designated destination folder (e.g. C:\fax). It’s a TIFF file with the name made up from the data and time the fax arrived (e.g. _20121217_114702.tif). No message appears on the screen.

If the computer is off, or the Monitor is off, the received fax will be pending in the machine without any message on the LCD display or anything indicating that action should be taken. The file is created as soon as the Monitor is activated (plus some 20 seconds or so). I don’t know how long the fax stays there, but I suppose turning off the fax machine will delete it.

It seems like there’s no support for Fax to PC for Linux. It looks like someone got fired at HP for supporting an ink-saving feature altogether.

I really miss my good old plain fax modem.

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