For example, you spend a ton of time complaining about how the old All Programs was a complete mess yada yada, without coherently addressing how the new All Programs addresses these problems.
It's cleaner and better laid out. Each app is separated into a category of it's own, and gone are the scary sounding folder names (in fact the folders are gone now too). If you go back to my first post, you'll see that the current Start Menu (once you click into "All Programs"), is a mix of 'homeless' apps, buried apps, and foldered apps. It's quite literally a mess.
The All Apps menu is clean, easy to read and understand. It's not cluttered, or space-hindered like the current Windows 7 Start Menu is.
You cite the 'scary' Misc, Accessories and Systems folders, which still exist. You say that it was a sea of folders, when now its a sea of icons with little hierarchy (which freaks you out for some unnamed reason). It still inherits hierarchy shown by how it alphabetizes by the folder name and it doesn't bother to remember what grouping you select from the zoomed view (which is the feature that was supposed to make it easier - and fails).
Yes, and no. Both folder have been renamed and users can now see what's in them without having to click them. A lot less scary when you don't have to worry about "Messing thing up" or "breaking anything". Yes, those are direct quotes from my own Mom, who is afraid to click on anything she doesn't know.
Folder hierarchies are so 1970's. We can do better than sound like we're recent 70's CS majors from MIT. Again, All Apps lays everything out, in a clear manner, with no space wasted. I can see what I have without wasting mouse clicks, and I'm not cramped into a small corner of the screen.
I also find it amusing that many of the current problems you cite with the Win7 taskbar, like the pinned items restrictions, didn't exist in its more classic form. So progress is the removal and then partial re-addition of the same feature? Additionally, you most certainly could pin folders and documents in the Win7 Start menu so you're factually wrong there too. In fact that brings up another thing the new menu can't do, pin content.
If you can pin folders to the Start Menu, there is no clear and easy way of going about it. I haven't been able to pin folders since Windows 98.