Trying to figure out why I can't gain Internet access through public wi-fi networks

Hi. I have an Asus A54C with Windows 7 OS. Yesterday I took it for the first time to my local coffee shop to do my work, and I discovered that I was unable to gain internet access to their free public wi-fi. The signal was strong, and there were several other people around me using the wi-fi. Also, I used my old Toshiba there almost weekly before getting this laptop. To check whether it was a problem with that particular network, tried accessing two other public networks in the near vicinity, both of which had moderate signal strength, and found that I had the same problem. I am able to *connect* to these networks, but once I do, I get the little yellow triangle icon in the bottom tray, the one that denotes I have no Internet access. I tried turning off my firewall to see if there was some issue with that. Still couldn't get Internet access. I tried looking in my antivirus programs to see if I have settings that block me from using unsecured networks, but I couldn't find anything. (I have McAfee and Webroot running.) So, I can connect to the networks but not use them to access the Internet. Eventually I gave up and turned on the mobile hot-spot on my phone, which I was able to use with my laptop without any problem. This makes me think there is some setting somewhere on my laptop that's "protecting" me from using unsecured networks?

I'm quite the tech greenhorn, so if anyone can offer help, please know that I won't immediately understand any obscure or complex computer jargon. (That's subjective, I realize.) Basically I'm asking for help but "dumbed down" enough for a computer user with average knowledge about computers. Thanks for any help anyone can offer!
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  1. Is this device's wireless known to work w/ ANY wireless network, perhaps back home? I just want to know if the problem is confined to public (open) wifi locations.

    Next time it happens ...

    Hit Windows key + R, copy/paste the following into the box, and hit enter.

    cmd /c "ipconfig /all > %tmp%\tmp.txt && start notepad %tmp%\tmp.txt"

    This will open a file detailing your network configuration. Cut and paste the contents to this forum.
  2. Yes, it works with our wireless network at home. I believe I've also used at work once, which was a password-protected network. I will get back with the network configuration info as soon as I can. Thank you!
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