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Need help connecting to the internet but the option to connect to networks is not even listed

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http://askubuntu.com – I have an Acer Aspire running windows 7 and Ubuntu. I am new to Ubuntu so treat me like i know nothing. I decided to install ubuntu so I installed it as a separate operating selectable on startup. When I first got it running it showed up with a little box in the corner that said: "Network: Disconnected-You are now off line" I have tried a number of different things to get it to connect but so far nothing has worked. I can connect to my home network on windows 7 although i cannot connect to other or public networks. I have an ethernet cable but that doesn't seem to help either. When i cl (HowTos)