Probably pointless to mention since the OP already left for Windows, but the adapter model RTL8187B does work for users. I'm not sure what the conflict may have been with that particular machine, but others have had some success getting it going. OP, if you decide for a round 2 with Mint, check the Ubuntu forums for RTL8187B and you'll hopefully find something of assistance getting wireless going.
Batsdude, hope you find better experiences if you stick around a while and see the degree of help some people do offer here. It's difficult to do sometimes, though, when a poster says they're fed up and just leaving. At that point there's little to offer since the expectation is pretty low that they'll return to see a response if they were sincere with their stated plan to leave.