1 - I can't reccommend any but would suggest that you don't need one unless you are going in deep. It is quite similar to 98 for most users.
2 - IE service packs can no longer be distributed via magazine coverdisks, according to PCPro mag. I have SP1, 2 and 3 here so if you cannot find them, email me via the envelope by my name and I will post them to you.
3 - Do a search on these pages for info re. partitioning - it came recently: click here for one such discussion.