I've recently come across a neat little utility for Windows Vista, 7, and 8 that will "fix" the broken start menu and explorer interfaces. It's called "Classic Shell" and it does exactly what the name describes.
Classic Shell will allow you to modify the appearance of the default Windows start menu to your liking. You can choose to have it look and work like the original Windows 9x or 2000 start menu or if you prefer, the Windows XP start menu. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, you can design your own start menu using the many many options provided. This tool becomes even more valuable with Windows 8. In the next version of Windows, Microsoft has decided to completely remove the start button. Classic Shell has been updated to offer the ability to bring it back.
In addition to being able to fix your start menu, Classic Shell can fix the Windows Explorer. It will putting back your status bar permanently, give you the classic (functional) look and feel to your explorer windows, and bring back the tool bar. The developer of this tool should be placed and honored right along side the guy who gave us nLite.
The Windows 7 GUI is a mess and very difficult to use. It slows me down during work and after more than 2 years using it, I still can't get used to it. With Classic Shell, Windows 7 has become a little more sane. Now, if I could only find a way to integrate this into my own Windows 7 installation DVD.
Visit the Classic Shell Website to start a better Windows 7/8 Experience.