I have heard that lots off people are missing the startmenu in Windows 8. I don’t miss it because I normally use the “Run” to enter my command/application and I have pinned my mosy used apps in the taskbar.
What I do recommend to my customers is to start using Windows+X. In Windows 7 this would open the Mobility center, but in Windows 8 this opens a smal menu in the bottom left corner:
This provides a lot of options for the most. But if you still miss the startmenu and don’t like the new one, I would recommend Classic Shell (http://www.classicshell.net/). This installs a startmenu that you could customize after your needs. If you like the Windows XP look, then just change to that skin.
All settings are stored per user in the registry under HKCU\Software\IvoSoft\ClassicStartMenu
This is a screenshot of my startmenu with Windows 8 look. Notice that is has two folders, one for the Windows 8 apps and one for the classic apps: