A while ago I posted a blog about hiding Media Center Menu Stripes using registry keys. I've had more questions on this and its compatibility with MC7 lately so I went ahead and made a helper app for hiding the menu strips. This does NOT do any resource editing, it is registry based only.
For All Users setting you will need to run the application with administrative rights.
Note: In WM7 you can use the native interface for adding or removing custom start menu tiles.
For VMC you can do it via registry keys or use Advent's MC Menu Mender. MC Menu Mender is a resource editor and has many options for customizing VMC but is not MC7 compatible yet.