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Thank you both for your suggestions I have tried them all but still can't connect to the internet.
I am wondering if there might be something wrong on the hard disc that is not related to the ethernet card or the network software because when I boot with the USB stick, the network settings are identical with those when I boot the computer from it hard disc even to the extent of having both 8139too and 8139cp and the same interrupt in both cases. Also, I have just booted it with a live CD of 9.04 alpha 5 and the settings are the same and I can connect to the internet. It is just when I boot from the hard disc that the network problem arises. I have noticed that the settings ( in Network Settings and Network Tools) are all greyed out.
If I could update the current alpha 4 to alpha 5 perhaps the issue might be resolved but trying to do it with the Alternative CD won't work and I can't think of any other way of doing it without an internet connection.
I think perhaps it is time to admit defeat and reinstall Ubuntu!
Thanks for that business_kid. When I did that I got a response saying "64 bytes from 192.168.0.10: icmp_seq=127.... ttl=64 time=0.052ms". The number after icmp_seq kept increasing. Presumably that means that the hardware is OK?
When I disconnected the ADSL modem to write this on a computer that works properly the output changed to "Network is unreachable"
The Network Manager icon still said "No network connection" during this.
Anyway, although I still have no connection on that machine I have learned a lot of things that I didn't know before, so thank you and farslayer for all your time and patience