yoinkster said:
I don't think W7 counts as retro just yet, XP/W95 would be retro!
But anyway, thanks for the suggestions guys, I was really hoping I could hax something useable together without having to resort to third party software though
Before I bite the bullet and weep gently at my desk, does anyone else have any ideas on how to get actual useful functionality out of the W10 start menu as is?

The key thing you need is reliable functionality. The Win 10 start menu does not offer me that.
1. It is presently limited to 512 shortcuts. I have more. In one drop-down menu under a sub folder in my start menu I see

How to
How to
How to

- these are all shortcuts from subfolders of separate programs in my normal start menu from Win 8 - the sub folders themselves have been removed.
2. The icons I assigned to the folders I created in my start menu are not expressed in the Win 10 start menu
3. I want search to quickly and efficiently find sthg in my start menu. Maybe Win 10's can be configured like that- I can't be bothered finding out.

Classic shell does exactly what I want- and I'm sure other replacement start menus would do.

Oh, and yesterday I even put a Windows 'Orb' style start button back!

And did I mention I'm not interested in tiles in my start menu.. and I need a menu that expands in columns.

It's a matter of picking the tool that does the job, and one that you don't have to worry about.

And the Cortana icon in the LHS of the Win 10 start menu takes me to Store... and I can't fix that simply as it seems users have no convenient access to the LHS shortcuts. (Cortana, for what it's worth, does work).