UK computer retailers are planning to open their doors early on Vista's launch day in anticipation of high demand for Microsoft’s new operating system.

On Tuesday we reported of the preparation some US stores were making for the launch of Vista, with companies such as Best Buy Co and Comp USA opening their stores at midnight and offering deals on Vista-equipped notebooks and PCs.

Now it seems that similar events are going to happen in the UK on January 30. Some UK retailers are planning to open at dawn, with a number of PC World stores unlocking their doors at 6am.

PC World will also be promoting the product heavily in store, and hopes to show how far Windows has come by demonstrating computers running past versions of the operating system, dating right back to 1.0.

Characters will also appear in-store on the day representing different features of the operating system, such as a strong man for security and Sherlock Holmes for Vista’s searching function.

PC World has been working closely with Microsoft to ensure that staff are fully trained in all aspects of Vista to prepare them for customers’ questions. The main hype on Vista launch day will take place at PC World, in particular at its core store in Tottenham Court Road.

Hamish Thompson, Director of Media Relations at DSG International, which operates PC World and Currys, said: “We are extremely hopeful of the demand on the day as Vista is impressive enough to have a very positive impact on the PC hardware and consumer markets.”

Over the Christmas period over half a million laptops were sold in PC World stores and a considerable amount of them came with a free Vista upgrade. Thompson said the new operating system would help Windows “move away from the desktop and into the living room environment”.

Online retailers also expect a rush for Vista. Late last year, Amazon leaked prices for Windows Vista when is started taking pre-orders for the operating system, and the company is anticipating high demand at the launch. Amit Shah, software buyer at told PC Advisor: “We fully expect Vista to be one of our top selling products of 2007 and our pre-order sales look set to confirm that expectation.” Amazon is certain that there will be a “good level of demand for this product on launch day and going forward”.

Microsoft has yet to officially announce UK prices for Vista, but the company did confirm the estimated retail prices exclusively revealed by PC Advisor in December. As we reported, UK users will be expected to pay much more for Vista than our US counterparts, leading to uproar from PC Advisor readers.