OT: HP wifi and BIOS locks

I've got an HP Mini with an Atheros AR9285 wifi/bluetooth adapter..
Shutting down the wifi locks up the whole system in Windows XP (the
pre-installed OS) and Linux unless I use an old release like Debian

HP lock their BIOSes so you can't replace the wifi adapter with a non-HP
model, but does anyone know whether all HP laptops are compatible with
all HP-(re)branded wifi adapters or am I stuck with the AR9285?

I know someone with a broken HP laptop and I want to know whether it's
worth trying to scavenge its wireless card. It's an Intel 3945. But they
don't live very near.

TH * http://www.realh.co.uk