WinPE Environment in Paragon products


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Paragon Software is known to make backup and restore products for home and business users, as well as software designed to partition and alter hard drives. When you buy a copy of Paragon software, you have traditionally always been able to create a recovery disc that uses the WinPE environment, or Windows Preinstallation Environment, to boot from disc and perform tasks like:

Disk cleanup
Disk partitioning
Restore to dissimilar hardware

The images for these discs can be downloaded, a long with the Windows version of the software, right from your account on Paragon's website. You could even build your own custom WinPE recovery disc, depending on what products you had purchased from the company.

However, something has changed. According to Paragon, in an e-mail sent to me very recently:

You own a Paragon product with the WinPE recovery environment. We would like to inform you that Microsoft has changed its license conditions, meaning that we will no longer be allowed to offer you the Paragon WinPE as of March 30, 2012.

If you haven’t downloaded your WinPE from the Paragon website yet, we recommend you to do so by March 30, 2012.

After March 30th, it will no longer be possible to download the WinPE recovery environment using your account! Customer service/support will not be able to send it retroactively!
It doesn't look like any other CD-ROM or DVD-based utility programs, that make use of WinPE, have been affected. BartPE, Reatogo, and Ulltimate Boot CD (UBCD) have made no mention of a change. It is noticeable, though, that these, mostly free utility discs, use an older version of WinPE than Paragon and other commercial products. They have not posted any notes to their visitors, or made any changes o their software.

Paragon also offers an Online WinPE Builder Service if you own one or more Paragon products. This lets you create the rescue media on-the-fly in the Windows Preinstallation Recovery environment using an online utility for customers. They currently use Microsoft WinPE v3.0 for this backup, recovery, and utility media.

A Paragon representative, named Pavel Astafurov, recently addressed the issue stating:

To disenchanted -
1. How will this affect paragon programs built on Win PE?
Starting of March 30 we won’t distribute ready-to-use images of WinPE
2. Is another type of "winPE' program going to be created to replace WinPE?
Yes, we will release special wizard that will build WinPE image right on customer’s PC. These wizards will be free for customers who bought our products. So basically nothing will be changed just a customer will need to spend 15 minutes to build WinPE image.
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