When I boot my laptop, the wireless shows its turned off by a hardware switch, but toggling it doesn't work. On my linux partition (and the liveCD) it shows as being soft locked and it can't be unlocked.
It is a Ralink RT5390.
You need to do a hard reset. To do that, follow these directions:
First, disconnect all peripheral devices, remove all USB devices and media cards, including mice, external keyboards etc etc etc.
Now, disconnect the AC power adapter, remove the battery, and then press and hold the power button for at least 1 minute. I Held mine for two, just to make sure.
Now, reconnect your AC power adapter (do not connect the battery!!), press the Power button and check is this problem solved or not.
If not, then you might have a dead wifi adapter.
(as was posted originally on the HP forums)