Ha, yeah I'm not saying I even deployed Vista! We skipped from XP to 7 - not used Vista in anger on anything.
I am interested why a hack was needed for this?
Do you run WSUS for windows updates on your client computers? IF not i'd recommend this. I used our default WSUS policies for win 7 and it seems to work fine.
The idea is not to manage the start screen but to give a default customization. We give our students our base programs that are installed on every pc eg Office 2013 and Live essentials 2012 Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. Then links for their network area, shared drives, desktop and a couple of other links to get on to their google drive and our horrible VLE. They can then customize as they see fit. If you do not want to give student this customization then a mandatory profile can be used. If you use GP to do a file copy of a shortcut needed in a particular profile on a class of pcs then copy to the start menu in %PROGRAMDATA%. This i think is how it seems to work but i have never used mandatory profiles so this may be inaccurate
You say that its not suited for a keyboard and mouse however, once you know many of the shortcuts its much quicker to do things than in win 7.