Personally, I like to limit the installation of any extra software installed on my system (this is my preference).
If you find this annoying, but don't want to install a 3rd party replacement. You can create a pseudo Start menu by creating a new toolbar in the taskbar.
All you have to do is right-click the taskbar, and select Toolbars > New Toolbar, then paste in the follow path in to the file dialog box: %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.
In the taskbar towards the right you will see the word Programs with two little ">>" (greater then signs) next to it. Click the little ">>" (greater then signs), and you should see all your installed desktop programs.