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There's a think called a MD5SUM. What this boils down to is a check verification when you download things to ensure you got the entire thing. It's a string of numbers that is verified against the archive with a program. There's a windoze version called MD5Summer md5summer.org I believe is where you get it. Use that against the numbers on the place where you downloaded your iso's from to determine if you got the whole thing or not.
If you did... Try using disc 2 to boot with and see how that goes.
Mandrake does require the 700MB discs, if you are using older 650MB ones you'll need to grab 3 newer ones.
With a tool called rawrite which should be on your install CD's. Fire up 98, plug in your Mandy disc, go to the install directory? Anyway, locate rawrite on there, and also the install.README or similar file. It'll have info on creating a boot disk, and even on some occasions/releases a pop-up will be there when you plug in your Mandy CD with "create boot disk" as an option (it's usually just a link to rawrite, but hey, it helps).
suse linux worked fine but i kept forgetting to install a boot loader. then i got the boot loader installed my brothers friend came over and got me hooked on redhat linux 7.3. now im running redhat linux 9.0