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.
I'd be inclined to produce an optimised Windows image using nLite as the base for BartPE to work it's magic.