UPDATED: Windows 8 is only available as an upgrade

No full version available through major retailers, but specialist stores can help

Microsoft Australia has admitted that the Windows 8 available through major retailers will only be an upgrade for existing customers who have previous versions of the operating system running on their PCs.

A full version of the product is not available via major retailers, nor did Microsoft state whether and when it will be.

While Windows fans may not be put at a direct disadvantage, Microsoft may have trouble attracting new customers who will be forced to purchase a previous version before they are able to install Windows 8.

Those who have Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 already installed can purchase Windows 8 Professional in a box for $69.99 through the big guns, or as a digital download for $39.99 via Microsoft’s website.

Selected Windows 7 PCs purchased between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013, are eligible for a Windows 8 Pro upgrade for $14.99 via the Windows Upgrade Offer.

Harvey Norman, which held its traditional Windows midnight launch, is currently selling Windows 8 Pro in a box for $58. JB Hi-Fi is running the same deal.

Additionally, Officeworks has just announced that it will be selling Windows 8 for $48.72, and promises a five per cent discount if found cheaper elsewhere.

While OEM software is not available through the majors, it is possible to find full versions through specialised computer stores; a sigh of relief for those who are building their own machines.

TechBuy lists the prices for both the 32- and 64-bit Windows 8 standard and Pro versions at about $120 and $170, respectively. StaticIce prices are similar, with the basic available for $90 to $120, and the Pro edition for $150 to $170.

Follow Nermin Bajric on Twitter: @nermin_au