Ready to pound my head against a wall.

How are other people presenting their users with the start menu? I don't mean shortcuts or icons I mean user links. I've been trying to follow various methods but seem to get unstuck. I am using roaming profiles and that all works, redirection works, it is just the silliness the users get presented with that I can see confusing them. Currently tempted to go back to XP!

So far tried the turning off libraries ADM/reg keys and this seemed to break searching for programs as a user and searching for anything as an admin (cmd, regedit etc).
Tried replacing the library files with custom ones and I just cannot get the files to go in the right place. It often says that access is denied, even though it is the users own profile and seem to have all the right permissions.
Removed all the links and the user personal folder using GPO and this was the closest I got but I don't like there being no identifier of who is logged on and it seems a bit draconian to remove all links from the start menu.

It feels like either I'm missing something fairly important or I have broken something fundamental that is stopping play.