Re: You can't polish *that* turd
Yes, really. Your experience may differ, but I've certainly seen the start menu fail in the manner described.
I can also confirm the tip mentioned earlier about using DIR instead of Windows search. It is at least an order of magnitude faster on my machines. On the other hand, that is probably because I have removed the "make this searchable" attribute from C:\-and-all-subs. Back on the first hand, that's because if I don't do that then the indexing service makes a brute force estimate of drive C:'s MTBF.
I imagine everyone at Microsoft has an SSD now, so the utterly dire performance of (default-configured) Windows on spinning rust simply doesn't show up in testing anymore.