US retailers will employ similar tactics to those used at the release of new games consoles when Windows Vista goes on sale on 30 January.

One store that will sell the new operating system in the US, Comp USA, plans to open its 230 stores at midnight to sell Vista-ready computers. It will offer cut-rate installations and technical support for a month at a charge of $29.99.

Another company hoping to maximise sales and hype the launch is Best Buy, with the retailer promising to offer deals on Vista-equipped notebooks and PCs. The company has spent money training staff on Vista’s features and teaching them how to demonstrate it to customers in the hope of generating extra revenue.

Retailers will also be competing directly against Microsoft itself, which will be selling the operating system online.

Stores hope that as the launch of the operating system has been so greatly anticipated it will help extend a successful holiday sales season within the computer sector. However it's not expected that demand for the new OS launch will be as great as at the launch of Windows 95, when customers camped outside stores before it went on sale.