Have been sat here for the past few days trying to work out how to create a universal start menu which will work between Windows 7 & 8 but not having much luck.
Our Windows 7 start menu is generated via folder redirection and we have our Windows 8 start menu (Not the Apps part) setup using group policy and an .xml file. These both work fine independently but I need to add the redirected Windows 7 start menu items to Windows 8 of which most are just links to various resources.
When I try to redirect the Windows 8 start menu items (Apps) the login time increases to over a minute and the Start Menu items that have just been added (Apps) will disappear after a few minutes. Another issue we have is every other login to the Windows 8 machine will result in the user not getting any redirected desktop or start menu (Apps) but the Windows 7 machines don't suffer from this issue. We're also using mandatory profiles.
How is everyone else handling their start menus (Apps) in a mixed environment?
Disabled the metro interface and recreated start menu folder structure on the desktop in 8.0 in 8.1 managed to get shortcuts to work from metro start menu but Apps kept vanishing at random so gone back to everything via the desktop which staff and children seem happy with.
I've done what you suggested and it appears to be working ok... it'll be a new experience for our users so we'll see how it goes. I also worked out why every other login would result in the user not getting any folder redirection which turned out to be Fast Logon Optimization, Applied that policy and all is working.