I won't denigrate the Knoppix suggestion - that is *always* a good idea.
I would go with the 3-CD Download Edition of Mandrake 10.1 Official Edition. The only real difference between that and the 6-CD/DVD retail Powerpack version is the amount of proprietary/commercial software included. (One thing about Powerpack, though, is it *does* provide kernels with ATI/nvidea video drivers built in, saving you installing them yourself. If you have a newer, high-end card, that might be a consideration. OTOH, I have an older card, and the default OpenSource drivers work fine for me.
Once you install the 3-CD version (note, if it asks for a 4th CD, just tell it you don't have it - it is of no importance), follow the link in my sig to Easy Urpmi, and follow the instructions on that page. Set up "main", "updates", "contrib". and "plf" sources. When this is done, in a command line, as root, type the command "urpmi --auto-select". This will download and install *all* the updates for the system since the isos were released.
From that point on, you can just use the gui package manager (rpmdrake). Just go to the main menu Star --> System --> Configuration --> Configure Your Computer. Select the "Software Management" button on the left, and you can install, remove, and update your software with ease.
BTW: the "contrib" repository is where all the *extra* stuff on the 4th CD (and the non-commercial stuff from Powerpack) is found.
If you like what you have, then you can either order the Powerpack version from Mandrakesoft, to help support them, or join the Mandrake Club, for the same reason.