Managed by the FaxBack Support Team

What is Preconversion?

"Preconversion" or document conversion is the process by which the fax server takes your cover page plus any attachments and converts them into a faxable image format. In order to provide this functionality, NET SatisFAXtion requires the cooperation of the application that created that file.

IMPORTANT:Always remember to test cover page (RTF) files as well. When sending a fax that includes a cover page, this document must undergo preconversion as well. Even if the attachments you are submitting are working, the cover page might still fail, causing the whole fax to be returned with a "preconversion failure." Cover pages (RTFs) are handled by Microsoft Word (if installed) or Wordpad.

Common Conversion Helper Applications

The NET SatisFAXtion server relies on each application to convert its own file types. The following is a basic list of commonly sent file types, and the application needed to convert each one. Make sure that all the applications are installed and functioning properly for all the file formats you need the server to convert.

NET SatisFAXtion's native format; no preconversion necessary.
Wordpad or Microsoft Word
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Internet Explorer* HOW TO - Send .JPG images as Fax attachments
Internet Explorer*
Internet Explorer
  • These file types need manual configuration to function properly. Refer to the indicated KB article.

Other applications will work, provided they support the "printto" action. See below for more information about the "printto" action.

Troubleshooting Preconversion Errors (Error Code 4134)

For Version 8.5.4716.620, or 8.6x, see the following list of enhanced error codes
Error Codes for 8.5.4716.620, or newer
The following graphic gives a conceptual overview of the preconversion process. This document will describe each step in the preconversion process, how to test each step, and how to correct errors encountered.

Figure 1-1: Preconversion Flow Chart

IMPORTANT: Verify Log On Account
These troubleshooting steps must be performed as the same Windows user that NET SatisFAXtion runs as.
Please verify what account NET SatisFAXtion runs as. Refer to this KB article for instructions: HOW TO: Verify Which Windows Account NET SatisFAXtion is Running As

0. Determine File Types Submitted

It is important to understand which file types are being submitted to the server to be converted. Get a copy of all files the user is submitting. If they are submitting faxes via email, be aware that all images and backgrounds will also be seen by the server as attachments to be converted.
Determine which attachments are failing:
  • First submit a fax with just "test" in the body. Remove all signatures, backgrounds, etc. from the message. If this fails, the issue is with cover page conversion. Cover sheets are RTF files.
  • If just a cover sheet succeeds, then the issue is with one of the files being submitted. Try to fax each one, one at a time. This will let you narrow down what file type is failing.

1. Look Up File Association

The first thing NET SatisFAXtion does upon receiving a document to be faxed is look up the file association. To do the same:
  • Double click "My Computer"
  • Click the Tools menu > Folder Options > File Types tab.
  • Find the entry that corresponds to the file type that is failing.
  • Click Advanced. Verify that it has a "printto" action. NOTE: PDFs will not have a "printto" action.
  • If your file type does not have an association listed, there may be no application installed on the server to handle that file type.
  • If your file type does not have a "printto" action, then either the application does not support "printto." or the action was deleted. Either contact the publisher of that application, or reinstall the application.

2. Call Application's "printto"

Next, NET SatisFAXtion calls the "printto" function, instructing the application to print the document to the "NET SatisFAXtion Document Conversion" printer. This can be manually replicated by dragging-and-dropping your file onto a printer.
  • Open the folder that contains your file, or put the file on the desktop.
  • Click Start > Printers and Faxes to open that folder.
  • Choose a printer. Ideally, use a real printer if you have one installed, otherwise the NET SatisFAXtion Document Conversion printer will work. Be aware that printing to the NET SatisFAXtion Document Conversion printer will give you an error message indicating "Only NET SatisFAXtion is allowed to print to this printer." This is correct behavior.
  • Drag and drop your file onto the printer's icon. This will call the "printto" action on the file.
This should cause the document to print on the printer you dropped it onto. You will see the following things happen:
  1. The application that handles the file type will open.
  2. The application will open the file.
  3. The application will print.
  4. The application will close the file.
  5. The application may or may not close afterwards.
Make sure that there are no dialog boxes or other prompts that require user intervention. If the application does not automatically print, preconversion will fail.

This could be caused by several things including:
  • Printto action was incorrect. Reinstall the application or contact the application's publisher.
  • Application is in an error state and needs user intervention to proceed. Consult the application's documentation to determine how to resolve this. It is recommended to disable any automatic updating of the application, since this typically needs user intervention.
Once you have cleared the error state, try this step again to insure it functions properly.

If Manual Testing Doesn't Reveal the Problem

If manual tests don't indicate what the problem is, it is useful to put NET SatisFAXtion into application mode. In order to put NET SatisFAXtion into application mode, please see this KB article: HOWTO: Run NET SatisFAXtion as an Application.
Once NET SatisFAXtion is running as an application, submit a file to it via your normal methods. When the server receives the message, you will be able to see the corresponding application open on the fax server, open the document, print and close.

Common Gotchas, Caveats and Errors

Adobe Acrobat:

  • You must run Acrobat and accept its license agreement before it will function.
  • Always disable autoupdates or you will see preconversion failures when a newer version is released.
  • Do not submit PDFs created by a newer version of Adobe Acrobat.
  • Do not submit PDFs that require downloading content from the internet or intranet
  • Do not submit PDFs that are locked or protected.

Microsoft Word:

  • You must run Word and enter your initials before it will function.
  • It is not uncommon for Word to corrupt its template, particularly with Word 2000. See Microsoft KB 291352.


  • WordPerfect is known not to support the "printto" action.

Microsoft Word Viewer / Excel Viewer:

  • Both of these Viewer applications are known not to support the "printto" action.

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