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I seem to have a mental block about installing drivers. Installing software from the download centre is easy, so let me give an example- I want to use a different wireless USB adaptor. Computer works fine with old one, but does not seem to see new one. If I try to install drivers from the disc, it tells me I do not have permission. Help files tell me to type commands in. The only place I can see to type commands is on the dash home screen and nothing is recognised. I have no doubt that installing a new piece of hardware is as easy as windows if you know how- but I don't.

Is there a complete moron's guide to installing hardware in Ubuntu?

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What is the wireless USB adaptor name? When it gives permission error, then you should try to do with sudo. –  Abhijit Navale Jan 12 '13 at 12:35
    
Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Hardware in Ubuntu should work without any drivers or installation. If it isn't plug-and-play, then it's either a bug, legal restrictions to the driver may apply or there's just no support for it yet. Please post the output of lsusb as run from a terminal to identify which device this is concerned. Without this information we can't really answer your question. –  gertvdijk Jan 12 '13 at 12:59
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The replies were helpful, but not in the way expected. The next time I used the machine the new USB transmitter mysteriously worked. Thanks to the reply though, I now have a starting point for the commands that I may have to use in future - thanks.

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Those links are a good place to start. We'd need much more relevant info in order to help you with your wireless USB adaptor. I've configured many myself, some worked out of the box, some worked out of the box after updates, some worked after installing restricted drivers, some worked with ndiswrapper. Good luck!

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