Full versions have more features than OEM versions
No, sorry that is not true. There is absolutely no difference
in features or capabilities between OEM and full Retail versions of Windows. It is ONLY
the packaging and the terms of the license agreement (EULA) that is different.
OEM/System Builder License
- License is tied to the "original equipment" it came with or was purchased for and cannot be transferred to a different computer or to an upgraded motherboard (a different, new or upgraded motherboard is considered a different computer),
- Technical support must be provided by the OEM provider (Dell, HP, Acer, etc.) or the System Builder (you as the self-builder or the custom builder of your computer),
- Cost less (because MS does not provide tech support and cannot be transferred).
- License is tied to the hardware but can be transferred to a different computer as long as the installation is removed from original computer,
- Technical support is provide by Microsoft for one year,
- Cost more (because it comes with 1 year tech support from MS and it can be transferred).
Phill is right about the potential penalty - up to $250,000 plus 5 years for each offense. With a computer typically lasting 5 years or more, and a new license costing $100 - spread that over the life of the computer and it is not very much. And of course, there are free Linux alternatives that will meet just about any computing need. So it is just not worth the risk to illegally use software - it is considered theft and/or copyright infringement.
What should I know about OEM versions of windows when looking on ebay?
There are basically two types of OEM licenses, branded and unbranded. Branded are those that come directly from the major PC makers like Dell and HP. These typically have been modified so they can only be installed on that brand computer. And to your question, I don't believe branded licenses can be resold - on eBay or anywhere. So I would be cautious - beyond normal caution buying anything on eBay.
Unbranded OEM/System Builders licenses come from Microsoft and anyone can buy them from Newegg or Tiger Direct or another "authorized" retail outlet - or directly from MS as a download or on disk. The unbranded are not modified, but the terms of the license is the same - that is, it can only be installed on the one computer (motherboard) it was purchased for. The unbranded is what self-builders and custom builders use. And again, it has all the features, capabilities and bells and whistles of the full Retail version, but costs less, has no transfer options and the computer builder (you) must provide tech support.