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Distribution: Lots of distros in the past, now Linux Mint
Yes, they exist. Unfortunately, it can be a pain finding which one is actively maintained. I'd try google, and http://www.distrowatch.com/ for some pointers. Your biggest problem might be deciding which one is best for you. Oh, and don't expect the distro to be all that powerful. Most are for simple jobs like routing or troubleshooting. None will compete with a standard OS, from an "easy to use" point.
What I need it for I so I can boot and mount a Windows 2000 NTFS drive and backup the password file. This means I can go into the system and make changes to all user accounts without having to ask them to reset their passwords.
It basically just needs to have the ability to run self contained in RAM without writing any files to the hard disk.
P.S - I don't see why not a CD distro would work either