One of the areas in which Linux has pulled ahead of the pack is with live, complete Linux distributions on every form of removable media. Knoppix is covered.
We all know and love the Debian-based Knoppix. Knoppix supports a vast array of hardwareif something doesn't work under Knoppix, chances are it's not supported in Linux. Knoppix gives you GUI tools for nearly any task you want to perform, and includes applications for every imaginable task. You're not limited to rescue operations, but you get a complete distribution with productivity applications. It is very popular and has excellent community support, including good articles on re-mastering Knoppix to customize it for yourself. Knoppix is for Pentium systems with a lot of RAM, the more the better: 32 MB for text mode, 128 MB and up for KDE.