Setting up a Microsoft TAPI Server


This article provides details on setting up a Microsoft TAPI Server to host remote third-party TAPI Service Providers (TSP’s).

A Remote TAPI Service Provider is a telephone device driver provided by your telephone system vendor, which enables Microsoft Windows to control your third-party telephone devices.

Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server includes a telephony server component for distributed access to shared telephony devices.

For example, a LAN-based server may have multiple connections to a local telephone switch or PBX.  Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI) operations invoked by a client are forwarded over the network to the server.  The server can then use a third-party call control between itself and the PBX to fulfil the client’s call control requests.

Setting up a TAPI Server

In the above illustration, the Microsoft TAPI Server is performing the following tasks:

  • Hosting the third-party TAPI Service Provider (TSP),
  • Providing communications of telephony control to/from the office telephone system via the TAPI Server Provider,
  • Providing communications of telephony control to/from the client workstations via the office network.

The telephone devices in this illustration are connected to the office telephone system as per the make of telephony system.  This connection is responsible for device control and not computer telephony.

The client workstations connected to the office network are able to share the telephony devices hosted by the Microsoft TAPI Server.

Windows Telephony Client/Server

To understand the roles of both the Microsoft TAPI Server and the client workstations, this section outlines each of them and how their roles interact.

Setting Up a Tapi Server

The Microsoft TAPI Server

The role of the Microsoft TAPI Server is to host the telephony service responsible for sharing telephony devices hosted on that server.

Shared telephony devices can be thought of just like many other shared network resources such as printers, files and folders.

As a shared resource, the TAPI Server is also responsible for access control to that shared device (resource), denoting which Windows domain users can and cannot access control of a given device.

The Microsoft Windows Client

The role of the Microsoft Windows Client is as the name suggests a client accessing a shared telephony device (resource), being hosted by a central TAPI Server machine.

Through the clients Windows Telephony architecture, a Windows Client can access one or many telephony devices being shared from a single TAPI Server.

Configuring a Microsoft Windows TAPI Server

This section outlines the required steps to setup and configure a Windows TAPI Server.  To perform these operations you will need:

  • An installation of Window 2000 Server or Windows 2003 Server,
  • Administration access to configure your Windows 200x server.

Important Note: The steps outlined within this section may require you to re-start your Windows 2000/3 server.

Accessing the Computer Management Console

From the Windows desktop of your 2000/3 Server, access the “Computer Management” application under “Administrative Tools” (or from the Windows Control panel).

This action should present the Computer Management Console.

Setting up a TAPI server

From within the Console, navigate down to the Telephony component, residing under Services and Applications.

If you expand the Telephony component tree, this should illustrate all the existing telephony device (TAPI Service Providers) currently installed/available on your TAPI Server.

Enabling the Telephony Server

The first step is to ensure the Telephony Server component is enabled.  To achieve this, right-click on the Telephony service item in the left-hand tree and select “Properties” from the pop-up menu.

This action will present the following Telephony Properties dialog.

Setting Up A TAPI Server article

Ensure the “Enable telephony server” check-box is enabled.

Click OK to confirm this change.


  • This action will most likely prompt you to restart the telephony services component for this change to take affect.
  • In our experience restarting of the telephony service is often subject to fail due to many other dependent services – if this should happen, then a complete re-start of the server machine will be required for the enablement of your telephony server.

Adding your Telephone Vendor TAPI Service Provider (TSP)

Once you have successfully enabled your Telephony Server, you can now begin adding new telephony devices.

To add your telephony device, you must first install the TAPI Service Provider (TSP) device driver that is supplied by your telephone system vendor.

The installation process for this will be provided and defined by your telephone system vendor.  Each provider typically provides an installation CD with the required TSP driver files for you to install.

Once complete, the necessary TSP driver files will reside on your Windows Server ready for configuration.

For information on how to install your telephone systems TAPI Service Provider, consult the technical information provided by your telephone system provider.

Managing Telephony Devices

Once you have installed your vendor supplied TAPI Service Provider (TSP), you are now ready to add this device into your Windows Telephony Server.

From the Services and Applications tree of the Console, right-click on the Telephony tree item and select “Manage Providers…”.

This action will present the following Telephony Providers dialog.

TAPI Server Set up

Microsoft typically has a number of telephony providers installed as standard, and these are used to control many standard telephony features of Windows – we strongly suggest these are not removed or reconfigured.

From this dialog you can add, remove and configure telephony providers.

If a telephony provider relating to your telephone system is not listed in the current provider device list, then clicking the Add… button will enable you to add it – see next section.

If a telephony provider relating to your telephone system is already listed in the current provider device list, then proceed to Configuring Your Telephony Devicesection below.

Adding Your Telephony Device

If your telephony device is not currently listed in the list of Telephony Providers, then clicking the Add… button will present the Add Provider dialog.

From this dialog, select the provider that relates to your telephone system.

If no provider relating to your telephone system is listed, ensure the TAPI Service Provider (TSP) has been successfully installed – see the section Adding your Telephone Vendor TAPI Service Provider (TSP) above.

Configuring Your Telephony Device

Configuration of your telephone device is very much based upon the individual nature of your telephone system and telephone provider.

Each provider is typically written by the telephone system vendor, and therefore configuration options are dependent upon those systems requirements.

For the purpose of illustration, this section will use the configuration of a Panasonic telephone system and Panasonic TAPI Server Provider (Panasonic KX-TDA TSP).

The following illustration shows the Panasonic TAPI Service Provider listed in the telephony device list.

TAPI Server Set Up Article

Right-clicking your telephony provider should present a pop-up menu with the option to “Configure Provider…”.

Selecting the Configure option should then present the configuration dialog(s) for your telephony provider.  For information on how to setup and configure your telephony provider, consult the technical information provided by your telephone vendor provider.

Set Up a TAPI Server

(Sample illustration of the Panasonic Telephony Provider)

Telephony Device Management

Once you have successfully installed and configured your TAPI Service Provider (TSP), you are now ready to administer control of its devices.

On selecting your telephony device from the list of installed providers in the telephony tree, the information pane on the right-hand side should then display a list of all telephony devices defined upon that provider.

In the following illustration, the Panasonic provider is selected, and the right-hand pane shows all the telephone devices (e.g. lines) available on the Panasonic telephone system.

Set up a TAPI Server Guide

Each device (line) can be assigned a user or collection of users from the Windows Domain Users list which is able to access a given device.

To assign user access to a given telephony device, right-click the required device and select “Edit Users…” from the pop-up menu.

This action will present the Edit Users dialog, where users can be added and removed as required.

Setting up a Windows Client Workstation

This section outlines the required steps to setup and configure a Windows Client Workstation to access the shared telephony resources of a Windows TAPI Server.

Accessing a Windows TAPI Server

On a client workstation wishing to access the shared telephony resources of your Windows TAPI Server, perform the following:

From the Windows command line or from the Run window (Start, Run…), type the following command:

tcmsetup /c tapiservername

In the example above, the name tapiservername should be replaced with the name of your Windows TAPI Server.

Usage Notes:

  • If you wish to reference multiple TAPI servers, this can be achieved by listing all the server names separated with spaces.
  • The running of the tcmsetup command replaces any previous server list, so make sure you list every telephony server you want to make available to the client.
  • The TAPI client is installed with the Windows 2000 operating system, but you need to perform this procedure to specify servers for the client.  The client must be in the same domain as the server or in a fully trusted domain.
  • You must log on to the client as an administrator to perform this command.  If you are logged on to a computer in the Users or Power Users group, you can use therunas command to run tcmsetup as an administrator, as shown in the following example:
runas /user:mydomainmyname tcmsetup /c tapiservername

Note: You may have to restart the Telephony service for these changes to take effect.

Persisting the Relationship

Once the tcmsetup command has been run on a given workstation, the relationship it establishes to the Windows TAPI Server will remain persistent (even during client and server re-starts) until the command is re-run or a new tcmsetup command denotes otherwise.

Detaching from a Windows TAPI Server

If you wish to remove a relationship to a Windows TAPI Server, this can be achieved using the following command.

tcmsetup /c /d

This command will remove all relationships to all previously assigned Windows TAPI Servers.

Microsoft Remote Service Provider

On successfully establishing a relationship to your Windows TAPI Server, the following entry should appear in the list of telephony Providers on your Windows workstation (Control Panel, Phones and Modem Options).

TAPI Server Setup Guide

The Microsoft Windows Remote Service Provider (RSP) is the Windows telephony client component responsible for communications with Windows TAPI Servers.


The Providers listed on the client workstation will not show all the shared telephony devices being shared by your Windows TAPI Servers.

 Related Resources:
  • None
Further Information:

See the intelli-CTi Help Center User Guidelines for important considerations of use.