This should be common sense and not require a whole research paper but Beyond Trust released a study stating that Windows 7 is safer when using it as a standard user.
Microsoft and their partners regularly identify new security vulnerabilities in Microsoft software. In 2009 Microsoft published nearly 75 security bulletins documenting and providing patches for nearly 200 vulnerabilities. By examining all of the published Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2009 and all of the published Windows 7 vulnerabilities to date, this report quantifies the continued effectiveness of removing administrator rights at mitigating vulnerabilities in Microsoft software.
Key findings from this report show that removing administrator rights will better protect companies against the exploitation of:
- 90% of Critical Windows 7 vulnerabilities reported to date
- 100% of Microsoft Office vulnerabilities reported in 2009
- 94% of Internet Explorer and 100% of IE 8 vulnerabilities reported in 2009
- 64% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities reported in 2009