RE: Coming Back to FS2004
welcome "back", Rob, to our common obsession - FS9
If you haven't gotten/reinstalled the utilities and 'must-have' files recommended for new fliers in the main menu section, do that first.
Get the SDKs from Microsoft that are relevant to your preferred choice of flying.
I did a fresh '2nd' install a few months back and limited this fresh install to what is most important to my preferred flight choice -- low level VFR and exploring the geography of the US.
I might miss something but here's the basics.
38m terrain mesh FSGenesis
$ Ultimate Terrain
$ Flight Environment
FSManager // FSMMoving map (Rana)
MS traffic SDK
Traffic View Board
FSScreen or other screen capture utility
Teamspeak voice-over-ip (teamspeak.org) for multiplayer communications
$ Briefing Time (B-25)
LIC Eagle II acrobatic biplane
Realair revision to default C172
Classic GA : Gruman Goose // Tigermoth // Piper Cub // Piper Tri-Pacer // Travel Air
Cessna T-50 Bobcat (Sky King) // Stearman // Waco // Howard 500 // AC 50
Military: F14 (topgun version) // F15 // F16 (Kirk Olsson)// F18 superhornet // A-10 // F22 //BAe Hawk group // A-4 // F-4U // T-38 ---- all the high-performance fun-to-fly planes [ carrier operations downloads if you want 'cat and trap' on the carriers ]
Columbia River Gorge // Northern Cascades // $ Misty Fiords // Freeflow Florida
In short, start re-building based on what you like the most. The site and the downloads will be here for a long time. You don't have to re-build overnight. Review the "top 100 downloads" list to get a good start with your rebuild. Admit it, you feel a little like a kid in a candy store -- so much to choose from.
Hooked since FS4... now flying: FSX Acceleration on Win7/64, Core Duo E8400; GA-EP45-DS3R; GTX 460-768MB; 4G RAM; Freezer 7 Pro