Power Downloader spends a lot of his time looking at ways to improve Windows Vista. He still doesn't use it for his primary computer, but there are some cases where it's clearly better than Windows XP. One of them, however, is not the Start menu, which barely improves on XP's five-year-old design. That's why he recommends Vista Start Menu for users who want to put a bit more zing into their Vista experience.
Vista Start Menu does away with the translucent aero theme, making it opaque, and builds it out with several levels of features and customization. It prevent programs from jumping around, as is their wont sometimes in the standard Vista Start menu, and it throws in a basic zoom feature accessible via CTRL+Plus and CTRL+Minus. It adds loads of keyboard support, so if you access the menu via the keyboard button, programs, folders, and sections of the Start menu are clearly labeled with hot key numbers and letters. Making cosmetic changes and surfacing directories is much easier with this app, since right-clicking anywhere from your username icon to any program will reveal a list of choices that include opening the host directory. Even though the program can be set to run as Vista starts, its uninstallation is boilerplate and easy.
However, Power discovered a few snags as he was trying to decide whether or not to recommend the app. There's a Pro upgrade available, but it's unclear whether some features--such as search tabs and power up and down options--weren't accessible because they're restricted to the paid version or because of a software bug. Still, if you're a die-hard keyboard user or just looking to make the Vista Start menu a bit more customizable, Power Downloader heartily recommends Vista Start Menu.