It's for this reason that programs like Classic Shell exist, which offers us the possibility to enjoy a similar XP Start menu on Windows Vista/7.
The new Start menu is visible from the moment one finishes the installation. On the menu, we can see the typical options in XP: programs, documents, settings, search, help and run. The menus are customizable and we can activate or deactivate functions from the preferences window of the program, in the Configuration section.
If, until now, you haven't been able to handle the new Start menu very well, Classic Shell can be the solution to your problems.