Update.......Long post warning -sorry about the long post but I wanted to give full details of how I got this upgrade working
Well after being told the only option for getting "N" speed I really had was a USB ( yuck - didn't like the idea of a dongle sticking out the side of my laptop and it has no expansion card slots on the side like some do )solution on a number of forums I dug a little deeper across the net and stumbled on a internal a used NIC card on E-Bay -HP Part# 482260-001 (it's an Atheros 5009 based card) for $24 with free shipping so I figured I would give it a shot. Well it came in the mail and I promptly pulled out the old one -plugged the new card it and the computer booted (yay - good sign -it got past the white list block).Now the first problem - the WLAN light/button stayed amber meaning the WLAN was not active. I checked the Device Manager and it showed an unknown network device with an exclamation point. I went digging for an updated driver and on a hunch I checked the HP site under my computer and saw an updated drive for my original board so I tried it. Much to my surprise when I started to install the driver it also had support for the 5009/802.11N version even though it is not a standard item on my model. After installing finished Device Manager showed a proper instalation of an Atheros 5009 802.11/a/g/n WiFi Adapter so I hit the button and it went active (blue). However it still not detect my network but I recalled reading posts in the past about some Windows update causing a problem like this so I tried doing a system restore to remove the updates but it failed.I looked at the program uninstall option and would have to uninstall 56 updates individually so I decided to do a re-install of Vista. Anyone that has an HP/Compaq knows how unreliable the system restore is so after my attempt failed to do so ( either from the recovery disks or the recovery partition) early after I purchased my system a friend gave me a copy ( he has a small custom computer business- he said this is fully legal since I have a legal license (key) that is part of what purchased - HP tried to charge me for a disk set). I did the upgrade option of the install which left my programs intact and just put Windows in freshly. After the installation I reinstalled the updated driver - rebooted and was able to connect to my network but at only 54Mbps (sigh). In my travels I read that there was some talk about problems with WEP and the N draft spec in some situations so I shut down all security on my network (not a good idea usually so only for testing) and the connection speed jumped to 300Mbps but when I tried enabling security features in dropped then I saw the following in the side (help) window:
To reach maximum wireless performance, the client like WN511B must connect to this router using WPA2(with AES) . For clients connecting in WPA-PSK( with TKIP), the maximum wireless speed will be at 802.11g.
Sure enough when I set the Router ( a Netgear WNR3500)and the 5009 NIC to this security level I got a secure connection at 300Mbps ( which is interesting as the highest speeds reported on some forums with this card was 270Mbps -perhaps the udated driver?). Again - sorry for the long winded post but I wanted to give full details