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Can't connect laptop to internet

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Recently just bought a laptop from my friend - the Dell 640m Inspiron. He'd only ever connected it to the internet wirelessly, however I don't have a wired connection in my house. I unplugged my the main compter from the modem and plugged an ethernet cable into my modem and the other end into my laptop (as I do with my PS3) but it wouldn't connect to the internet, I then plugged the laptop in directly to the modem via the USB connection the computer usually uses but it still wouldn't connect.

Any idea why it won't connect? Not sure if I need to set up some settings... It said something about plugging a cable into a Local Area Connection adapter?! I thought by just plugging it into the modem via ethernet or USB it would automaticcaly work, no? But then again I'm an idiot with computers so would really appreciate any advice
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    Je suis Napoléon!

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to use your modem directly VIA usb you'd have to install the drivers that came with the modem..

to do the ethernet connection try plugging the laptop in via ethernet and unplug the modem...then plug it back in and see if it takes off
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