Windows developer Ivo Beltchev has created a utility called Classic Shell that works with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
In Windows Vista and 7, the utility brings back the classic Windows Start menu and allows you to customize it. In Windows 8, Classic Shell adds the Start button back to the desktop and adds the classic customizable Start Menu as well.
A full list of Classic Shell functions:
Drag and drop to let you organize your applications
Options to show Favorites, expand Control Panel, etc
Shows recently used documents. The number of documents to display is customizable
Translated in 35 languages, including Right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew
Does not disable the original start menu in Windows. You can access it by Shift+Click on the start button
Right-click on an item in the menu to delete, rename, sort, or perform other tasks
The search box helps you find your programs without getting in the way of your keyboard shortcuts
Available for 32 and 64-bit operating systems
Has support for skins, including additional 3rd party skins
Fully customizable in both looks and functionality
Support for Microsoft’s Active Accessibility
Converts the “All Programs” button in the Windows menu into a cascading menu (Vista and Windows 7)
Implements a customizable Start button (Windows 7 and 8)