will ubuntu connect to wi fi with new install only ?
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The latest versions of Linux connect without hassle to wifi networks. Even booting a live CD does so too and a new install would be just the same.
I used to have some trouble with earlier versions of Ubuntu to get it to work with my USB wireless modem but the last few releases have been real easy to get connected. I also use recent releases of Puppy Linux and Parted Magic live CD's and they connect straight away on my hardware.