Sam's advice to monitor error messages from terminal is sound for startup errors, as is advice to make sure everything is updated. You should do those first. While you're at it, the "File" menu in Software Center should still work for Install/Remove.
Reading between the lines, your install button may be "greyed out" (is the text black?). If the text is greyed out (disabling Install, Remove, screenshots and reviews--but not the menus), and Software Center tells you it doesn't have a network connection when you do, I wrote a lengthy response here:
Install button in the software center is grayed out...
Essentially, Software Center--through NetworkManager, even if the icon doesn't appear / I had to add mine--can believe you don't have a connection when you really do. A quick test (how I finally found it): Force NetworkManager to update (via "auto", if your network is DHCP, for example) and Software Center will immediately restore the buttons, or if you have set up your network outside of NetworkManager (so it's safe to turn it off), disable it completely. Credit to Doctoa for this post (sudo stop network-manager).