Yes you could use a live CD. But a 12-year old Linux may not even run on a modern computer without some driver etc issues and you likely can't install anything because the online repos will be long gone.

I would suggest the latest version of Ubuntu or something else that's more user-friendly if you want to try Linux for such tasks. GParted/CloneZilla Live etc are also good. But I usually prefer a full desktop distro where I can install GParted and other tools too. Can be useful to install other things. Even solitaire or sudoku etc so you can amuse yourself while your disk copies

If you do go the Linux/dd route, I'd actually recommend ddrescue instead. Not that dd won't work, but ddrescue is designed to recover data too, and it's also great for cloning as you get a progress report, write speed, time etc which dd does not give you except on completion. You also get the ability to stop and resume, provided you use the log/mapfile option.