Windows 7 has become the fastest selling operating system at the UK high street electronics specialists Currys and PC World, as well as online store Dixons.co.uk, according to the chains' owner DSGi.
Within 12 hours of being made available for pre-ordering, sales of Microsoft's forthcoming package were more than 25 per cent of the total annual sales of its much-derided predecessor, Windows Vista, said the firm.
Windows 7 will not be available until October, but many retailers are offering generous discounts for early orders - as much as 55 per cent at DGSi.
“We are seeing an unprecedented level of demand for this new operating system," said Alan Dardis, head of trading, software, at DSGi.
"With other retailers already running out of stock, we expect demand to only increase so we would recommend customers order early to ensure they are not disappointed."
Amazon said earlier today that more copies of Windows 7 were pre-ordered from its UK site in eight hours than Windows Vista achieved in its entire 17-week pre-order period.
There are few indications yet to what extent business users of Windows will adopt the new operating system, although many skipped Vista because it offered few new features that were of real value to corporate IT.