I need to create a Windows live CD. Is there any way I can create a light weight Windows (any version) live CD through which I can just get the basic windows explorer. The purpose is just to copy important files from/to a crashed system quickly. I encounter scenarios like this often and it usually takes a lot of time booting live Linux CDs. Any ideas would be very helpful.
BartPE is what you are looking for.
Although there is no explorer support, there is a file manager for it as well as the command prompt. Plus, countless plugins and driver support.
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I'd be inclined to produce an optimised Windows image using nLite as the base for BartPE to work it's magic.