<< Click to Display Table of Contents >>



Document Rendering Troubleshooting



When using the e-mail gateway to send faxes it is possible to send document attachments which are converted into faxes using the Mail Rendering Subsystem' printer on the Zetafax Server system. Some times the process used to convert attachments fails. This document describes the process and details procedures to troubleshoot problems that you may be experiencing with the mail rendering subsystem.


Note: for the purpose of this troubleshooting area we are using a Microsoft word document (<FileName.Doc>) as an example.


The process of converting an attached file (including Rich Text Format .RTF ) is as follows:


1.After the user sends the email containing the attachment, it passes from the email sever into the Zetafax Server application.

2.The Email is separated from the attachment which is then opened on the Zetafax Server system. When it does this it places the files temporarily into the Zfax \Mail\ST folder (where Zfax is the location of the Zetafax Server files).

3.Using an application that is able to view that particular file type, the attachment is printed to the Mail Rendering Subsystem printer e.g. Word is normally used to print .DOC and .RTF attachments.

4.The Mail Rendering Subsystem printer creates a .TIFF image of the attachment file in the Zfax \MAIL\ST folder.

5.Zetafax picks up the .TIFF image file and sends it as part of the final fax.


In most installations this process runs smoothly. However this document describes a process to troubleshoot rendering problems should they arise.


What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of rendering issues (as opposed to, say, e-mail gateway problems) are the following:


Sending a plain text message with no attachment works correctly.

Messages in Rich text or HTML format, or messages with an attachment, are rejected with one of the following errors on the Zetafax Server or in the rejected message returned to your mailbox:

"Unable to process message"

"Internal error - invalid parameters"

An error code number starting with 63 (e.g. 63254).


If the problem is a rendering problem, it will affect all e-mail gateway users. If only one user is affected, there may be a problem with that user's settings, with the file, or type of attachment they are sending.


Are any messages sent successfully?

Before you troubleshoot rendering, you should ensure that the e-mail gateway is sending faxes correctly. Send a plain text e-mail as a fax (not "Rich Text" or "HTML" - see your mail client's documentation on how to do this), and verify that it is sent successfully.


If the plain text fax is not sent, then you probably have an e-mail gateway, Zetafax Server, or connector problem, which is not covered in this document. If the plain text fax is sent successfully, continue with this troubleshooting guide.


Does rendering fail when the Zetafax Server runs as an application?

In some cases, rendering may only fail if the Zetafax Server is running as a service. If you are running Zetafax as a service, you should check whether rendering works when you run the Zetafax Server as an application:


1.Go to the Control Panel , and then open Services.

2.Highlight the Zetafax Server service' and click on the Stop button.

3.Close the Services window.

4.Go to Start , Programs , Zetafax , and click on Zetafax Server'.

5.The Zetafax Server screen will appear with Zetafax Server' in the title bar (not Zetafax Server Monitor' )


Test whether rendering works in this state. Please note that when Zetafax is running as an application, the rendering applications will open up on screen, which may disrupt any work you are doing on the server desktop.


If rendering works correctly with the Zetafax Server running as an application, check whether the account the service is using is causing problems:


1.Check what user account you are currently logged into Windows as.

2.Change the Zetafax Server service account to that same user, and start the service.

3.Test whether rendering now works. If it does, you either need to change the account used for the service, or you need to increase the permissions of the account the service currently uses.


Note: If your e-mail server is on a different machine than the Zetafax Server, the service will need to run with an account, which has access to other machines i.e. your mail server (so LocalSystem is not suitable).


Does rendering fail for all attachments?


If a particular document fails to render, check rendering with a different document from the same application.


Note: Macros, small margins and non-conventional paper sizes in the document you are trying to send may stop the application from rendering correctly.


Does rendering fail for all applications?


If you usually only send one type of attachment (for example, Microsoft Word documents), check whether other types of attachments fail as well. If only one type of attachment fails, there may be something wrong with that application's installation on the Zetafax Server.


Here are some known issues with the third-party applications Zetafax uses for rendering. If the Zetafax Server is running as a service, run it as an application to check if these problems are occurring:


The Office Assistant or an error message appears when you open the application on the Zetafax Server. Disable the Office Assistant or troubleshoot the error message to solve the problem.

Adobe Acrobat 4.05 has been installed on the server at some point. There was a flaw in this version of Acrobat which stopped rendering from working. Upgrading to Acrobat 5.0 does not fix this problem, because parts of 4.05 will remain intact. The solution is to install Acrobat 3.0. This problem does not affect clean installations of Acrobat 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0.

Large Adobe Acrobat PDFs can cause problems. Use the Document conversion engine to render PDF documents. This add-on supports over 250 file extensions and is a purchasable add-on to Zetafax.


Does printing to the Mail Rendering Subsystem printer work?


Open a document in the application that is failing, and print it to the Mail Rendering Subsystem printer. This should create a TIFF file in the Zfax \MAIL\ST folder.


If the Mail Rendering Subsystem printer is not available, or a TIFF image is not created when you print to it, then there is a problem with the Mail Rendering Subsystem printer. Click here for help with the Mail Rendering Subsystem printer.


Does right-clicking on a file and selecting Fax Convert work?


If the Mail Rendering Subsystem is working correctly, then there may be a problem with the command used to print the document from the e-mail gateway.


In order to call the relevant application during rendering, the Zetafax Configuration normally adds a "verb" called Fax Convert to the enabled applications. In some cases, this verb may be incorrect or became corrupt.


To test whether this command is working:


1.Create a plain file from the application you are trying to render to a location on the Zetafax Server machine.

2.Place the file in the Zfax \MAIL\ST folder, then close all applications that may still be open.

3.Right-click on the file and select Fax Convert . You should see the file open, a print to an "OEM Printer" dialog box appear briefly (on some systems this may be to fast to notice), and then close.

4.Check the contents of Zfax \MAIL\ST folder on the Zetafax Server. A new TIFF image should be in this folder. Open it and check that it is a copy of the file you printed.


1.If the application doesn't open, or the file doesn't print, there may be something wrong with the Fax Convert command. You can check the contents of the Fax Convert command by checking the following:

2.Open Windows Explorer. Go to Tools , Folder Options....

3.Click on File Types , and then highlight the extension for the type of file you're having problems with (e.g. .DOC Microsoft Word Document if you're having problems with Microsoft Word). Click on Advanced.

4.In the next dialog, highlight Fax Convert , and then click on Edit....

5.Check the ensuing dialog for obvious errors, like the wrong path in the "Application to perform action".


If at this point, you are unable to fix the problem yourself, you will need to contact Technical Support for further assistance.


Contacting Technical Support about rendering issues

Before contacting Technical Support, make sure you have run through every stage in this document. When you do contact Technical Support, you will need to provide the following items:


1.The version of the Zetafax Server, e-mail gateway, and Zetafax connector (if you are using Exchange), as well as the versions of all the applications you are rendering with. If you are using another mail server we require the version of the server, e-mail gateway and mail server as well as the applications you are rendering with.

2.The answers to all the questions asked in this document.

3.E-mail gateway trace logs covering a time where rendering failed. A server.log file covering a time where rendering failed. This can be found in Zfax \SERVER\Z-DB on the Zetafax Server.

This will allow the support team to better help you with your current problem.