In response to a recent request for help, Ed Rudel outlined some of the ways you can change your Start Menu to look just Windows 7 but benefit from all the improvements under the hood in Windows 8.1.
I think it would be best solution would be to configure Windows 8 to boot into the Desktop mode. The Windows 8.1 update allows for this. Then I would download and install one of several programs that were created specifically to make Windows 8 look and feel like Windows 7. These utilities are: Classic Start or Skip Metro Suite. The Classic Start can be installed from Ninite.com (bottom right side of the site) and Skip Metro from winaero.com
This is a Leo Laporte Twit video that describes this procedure. As usual, it is 20 minutes long and has lots of overhead and not enough details but it make you feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Classic Shell is described in this Category 5 video (less bantering)