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That's a good idea. But not an alternative if you shop cheap at ebay
True. Sometimes it's worth the trade-off.
I think we got sidetracked here. If OP already has a wireless adapter, he should just grab a live media iso for one of the easier-for-newbies mainstream distros, burn it to CD/DVD or write it to a USB flash drive, and give it a go.
Yes, we got a bit side-tracked. In my experience he's probably got the best chance getting it to work in Ubuntu or Linux Mint. If it doesn't work ootb there, it doesn't work anywhere else either. In addition, Linux Mint with Mate is probably the easiest distro for anyone without much linux-experience.
I have not used this USB wifi adapter myself, so no guarantees, but according to Phoronix and plenty of happy purchasers on Amazon, this Panda PAU06 300Mbps Wireless-N USB Adapter with high-gain antenna appears to work “out of the box” in Linux:
“A friend gave me a Linux Ubuntu 14.04 (current for 2014) computer recently. I had a D-Link wireless adapter that I used with it temporarily, but it dropped the Internet every 5 minutes when used with the Linux machine. I saw online that this Panda adapter was truly plug & play with Linux, and it definitely was. I didn't need to install anything. Just plugged this in, and was online in seconds. It has not once dropped the Internet signal in about 6 weeks of constant use. Highly recommend”.