MyFax Support, You Suck

tl;dr MyFax Support sucks. Getting ‘Mydll_NT: Error in function: dAddPortMonitor, Error code: 126.’ installing the Print-to-Fax Assistant? Run msiexec /i myfaxassistantsetup.msi /q and install in silent mode.

Dear j2 Global Communications/Protus/MyFax:

Please remind your company to care about their software and the people that use it. In particular, you need to provide support for the installation of your products. Telling someone you won’t support your own product until it’s installed is ridiculous and asinine.

What Went Wrong: Installing Print-to-Fax Assistant

A few days I attempted to install the MyFax Print-to-Fax Assistant on a fresh-out-of-the-box Dell workstation running Windows 7  Professional 32-bit SP1. Nothing out of the ordinary installed on this system. It’s joined to a domain and I’m running the install as myself, a user with administrative rights on the local machine.

I accept the EULA and all the defaults to get the install on its merry way, and I receive the following error:

MyFax Print-To-Fax Assistant Installation Error

Mydll_NT: Error in function: dAddPortMonitor, Error code: 126.

After that, the install failed and the MSI rolled back.

I tried a reboot and a few other normal troubleshooting tactics, and it all ended with the same error. I’ve got the Print-to-Fax driver installed on a Win 7 64-bit and another Win 7 32-bit install, as well as an XP box, so I know the thing works. Even tried downloading the installer again and comparison the checksum. Everything checked out, but it wouldn’t install. It’s not a particularly helpful error message, and there’s no information on any sort of manual installation process.

To the Googles! Less than 150 results come back on a search for this particular error. Mostly from Black Ice Online Support, which leads me to suspect that they provided the lower level drivers that MyFax uses. Searching for this particular error specific to MyFax returns nothing.

How Not To Help: MyFax Support

MyFax Knowledgebase

Nothing there of any relevance. In fact, it looks like the latest I can find on any subject was last modified almost a year ago in June of 2010. (Update: by the time I got around to finishing this article, I now see one new knowledgebase post from July 2011.)

Online Chat Support

So, it’s time to contact support. First, I try the online chat. Here’s where it gets interesting.

I’m told that:

  • The Print-to-Fax driver is not compatible with Windows 7 (contrary to information on the MyFax site even showing 64-bit Win 7 compatibility)
  • The Print-to-Fax driver is one of the oldest plug-ins they have
  • That Blackberry, iPhone, and Android apps are out or in the making

None of which helps in the slightest to resolve my situation.

It’s also suggested that I turn off my firewall (which it is), and then I’m given a couple of Google hits on the error, neither of which reference MyFax in any way.

Finally, I’m told that it’s not a MyFax error, and it’s the computer that’s giving me this error. Oh really? So the fact that I get this error when installing the MyFax product means nothing? How about uninstalling it and then reinstalling (except I NEVER GOT IT TO INSTALL IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!)? Blerg. Kthxbye.

Phone Support

Let’s see if a phone call nets anything more helpful. What follows is a highly paraphrased conversation.

I’m told by the Tier 1 tech that it’s a driver issue, and that I need to install the driver so that the Print-to-Fax assistant will work. And to try Google. Can I speak to a supervisor? Sure, he says, and puts me on hold.

Me: “Hello Mr. Supervisor? I can’t install your program!”

Supervisor: “Well, Mr. Customer, the ‘dAddPortMonitor’ error is a very common error. You need to install the Mydll_NT.dll in order to get our program to work.”

(Common? ‘dAddPortMonitor’ returns less than 300 hits on a search engine. ‘Mydll_NT.dll’ returns about 600)
Me: “I can’t download Mydll_NT.dll, because it came with your software. I can’t install your software.”

Supervisor: “Oh, you can just go to Microsoft.com or Google and search for it and download it.”

Me: “Yeah, no, I can’t.”

Supervisor: “Well we cannot support the Print-to-Fax assistant until it’s installed at which point we can check settings remotely from our systems?”

Me: “So you’re telling me you sell a product that you don’t support? If I can’t get your product installed, I can’t use your product. What about those Blackberry, iPhone, and Android apps? You’re telling me if I can’t get them installed, that’s my own problem?”

Supervisor: “Basically, yes.”

Me: “Okay, we’re getting nowhere. If you have any play at all with anyone in management, customer support, marketing, or product development, tell them that SOMETHING IS MAJORLY WRONG HERE. *click*”

Finally, a Workaround

I really shouldn’t have to do this, and MyFax support has given me nothing to go on, but I keep troubleshooting the issue. Running msiexec.exe with verbose logging options enabled, I discover that the TARGETDIR variable is ignoring the default path and is dumping all the files in the root folder. Changing the path doesn’t help, creating the path ahead of time doesn’t help, nor does copying the extracted files to the path in the middle of the install. Same error.

For kicks, I try a silent install:

msiexec /i myfaxassistantsetup.msi /q

It works. Why? No idea. Do I really care at this point? Not really. I run a test fax through, and it works. Reboot, and it still works.

What’s Still Wrong

So I got the Print-to-Fax Assistant to install. Yay. However, I don’t think I’d be writing all this if the whole support experience wasn’t so terribly, utterly, horribly, bad.

On one hand, MyFax and the whole internet faxing universe is really just an attempt to hold onto an antiquated technology that really should have been replaced by something better years ago, but amazingly, faxing still exists and Osama Bin Laden doesn’t. But that’s beside the point.

Here’s the thing: I pay for your software. Other people pay for your software too.

Granted, it’s not a lot of money every month, but it’s not like I’m mooching off free software. You’ve got a support page with numerous ways to contact you. But to tell me you won’t support me until I get the program installed…that’s just wrong. That’s like Dell telling me they can’t help me troubleshoot a brand new system that won’t boot up until I can get it turned on.

The installation process is a critical part of the distribution of software. If your program can’t be installed, then people can’t use it, and then it’s worthless. Zero stars rating. Refund.

The least you could have done was taken a note of the issue, given me a ticket number, and then ignore me. At least then I would’ve thought (initially) that somebody cared.

What Can Be Done

Start by fixing your Print-to-Fax Assistant installer.

Windows 7 has been out for two years. Make your software compatible. Simple as that. I downloaded the 64-bit version the other day, and got the same error message on my own desktop, and fixed it by running it through a silent install as above. But that’s a poor workaround. I’ve now had this error on at least four separate machines, so it can’t be just a fluke.

Next, figure yourself out as a company.

With all your buyouts, I count at least five distinct faxing services you offer. I’m not going to bother to list them here, and frankly I don’t care about your other products, because I don’t use them. If you want, consolidate all these similar products into one and then focus on making that product better.

Finally, beef up your support.

Support is your first line when customers are having problems. If they can’t resolve simple issues because they’re uninformed of the solutions, then provide training. Make it better.

Maybe you don’t care

j2 Global Communications, it’s entirely possible that MyFax doesn’t matter to you. Somehow your stocks are still are still up and you’ve apparently got money in your pockets with reported growth over a number of years, but the product I care about seems to be dying a slow and painful death. Since buying Protus in December 2010, you cut 100 employees from the Ottowa office and presumably dumped that workload on other locations. On on the MyFax and related websites, I see the following:

  • 1 new knowledgebase article in the last year
  • The last post on the MyFax Blog is from 7 months ago (January 2011) and as far as I can tell, all the actual content contributors on the blog are no longer with Protus or j2
  • A black hole of tweets between Dec 2010 and June 2011
  • Twittermonials on the main page of MyFax.com shows the last favorited tweet to be 200+ days old
  • Last released dates for the iPhone and Blackberry apps are both over a year old, and both with less than 50% ratings. There’s no Android app at all, and no acknowledgement publicly that they’re even working on an app for this platform.
  • The MyFax What’s New page shows a Fall 2010 Update, and nothing newer.

I could be wrong. Maybe you do want to make MyFax better. Maybe you do want to provide customers with a good experience in the bizarre world that merges the zombie-that-will-not-die that is faxing with this internet world that has Google+ and TouchPad fire sales.

People liked MyFax. Unsurprisingly to me, people liked MyFax better than eFax. This should mean something to you when deciding where to devote your time and attention.

If you do care, then show it.

Sincerely,

Jason Navarrete

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15 Comments

  1. L
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I’m using the MyFax Print-To-Fax Assistant. In building a custom coversheet, what is the variable for the ‘Company’ parameter. I know %To% is for ‘To’ and %From% is for ‘From’ etc….nobody can tell me the %?????% to pull the ‘Company’ field.
    Thanks,
    L

    • Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      I did a little digging, and I’m not sure what that parameter is either. None of the stock cover pages appear to use that field. I wonder if support could answer your question? :)

  2. sarah stern
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Agreed.. just signed up for the 30 day free trial, boss is leaving the country for 3 weeks and this is urgent. First, did not receive the inital email. Second, email did not include the temporary password. Third, just tried to install the MS office feature that would allow us to send faxes from programs/Outlook to no avail. Customer service line puts you on hold, and while online chat someone else’s question was answered while I was waiting. I am canceling and going to Metro Fax.

  3. Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Jason, thank you for the blog article, I found it because I had a similar problem with MyFax. I was able to get the software to install; however, the minute I attempted to use it I was told that the MyFax 64-bit Ice Driver printer driver was not installed. After a little investigation, I found the “Black Ice Driver” on Black Ice’s website, they wanted $40.00 for the driver. I contacted MyFax and was told that there is a problem with the driver and that they will be discontinuing it in the near future. Nothing about offering a solution or fix, just that they will not support it anymore. I immediately dropped MyFax and went to RingCentral, less more and more features. Thanks again for the article!

  4. truthteller
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    J2 Global Communications (MyFax) has horrible service and my experiences with them indicate a company out to make as much profit as possible with a minimum amount of service, an approach endemic to more and more greedy companies of a particular type. I now having similar problems with Protus. Protus in Canada used to be a really good company and I used them for years. Recently they were bought by J2 Global Communications (MyFax) and Protus is now plagues with problems, unresponsiveness and poor service. J2 Global Communications has bought and ruined what was a good company

  5. BadServiceMyFax
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    My Fax USED to be an excellent service and had top notch rep’s to aide with their product. In 2010 J2 Global purchased this company….. If anyone had the dis-pleasure of trying out EFAX, you will know what I’m talking about. They have the WORST customer service with the LEAST amount of knowledge about their program. I left after their network was down for 3 days. Yes 3 days! This is a common problem for J2 and you would think a communication company could remedy this problem, but sadly no. Funny, after I spoke with a rude representative on the phone who had the nerve to lie to me and say the service was only down for 2 hours. Please…. busy people don’t have time for such games.

  6. Brian Tinker
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I too am very unhappy with myfax. Use to be good, but service is now nonexistent. I tried the silent install above and was unable to get to work. A window with msiexec options available just keeps coming up. I too am looking for a replacement service.

    • Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      If you’re getting a window with msiexec options, double check the parameters you’re using and the direction of the slashes. Something might be off there.

      I’m in the process of attempting to port out one of my fax numbers, so we’ll see how it goes…

  7. Matt Moore
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Well said as we’ve had the same issues with MyFax and received no support other than “don’t use modern software with our crappy software”.

    You’re not alone! Hopefully MyFax will die a quick death along with faxing…

  8. Kassel
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Myfax is crap. They just lost all our fax archives. Is that they means for infinite storage?? CRAP!

  9. Sean
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I have been using myfax for 3 years, and we fax our HTML formatted orders from outlook with zero problems. Suddenly our faxes were going from 2 to 7 pages with strange formatting. Live chat support was comedic, and this girl basically told me that “we can’t guarantee how a fax will appear out of Outlook. We recommend sending it as a tif or pdf. Anything else I can help you with?” With 50 to 100 orders coming in a day, we can’t go through the extra steps to convert the files for them. So I decided to call and get another person. Basically they moved/merged with one of the sister company servers. That server software can not flatten or convert HTML. Never mind that their website claims to support HTML. So they make a major change to their servers with no warning. And when the change disrupts the daily operations of your business, they could not care any less. Terrible company with terrible support.

  10. Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Agree with all. I just use the most basic — send and receive via email — but they seem to be steadily *downgrading* that. Thanks for the recs on metrofax and RingCentral.

    J2 SUCKS!

  11. Agree
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Their service sucks. We used the number for 5 years and then a credit card was lost. So the card bounced, they sent an email, which I immediately tried to respond to..it took 5 hours. They suspended the service even though they knew it was a lost card. They wouldn’t let me update online and they put me in an obnoxious que that took hours and botton pushing. We are looking for a new service. DO NOT USE THEM IT MIGHT JUST COST YOU YOUR BUSINESS.

  12. Randall
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Now Metrofax is part of the J2 crap company. They now down graded my service without notifying me of any of their changes. I used to be able to root out junk faxes. Not any more. You will also now get ads in your confirmation emails. Un-speakable for a paid service. No refunds for yearly billing if I leave either. I really don’t care though I’m leaving anyway.

  13. Posted March 20, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

One Trackback

  • By The Journey From MyFax to MetroFax on September 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

    […] already established that MyFax is slowly going down the tubes. The following chronicles my experience switching to a new […]

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