First Time Startup - Window doesn't seem to do anything/not respond/black screen

If your having issues starting the app for the first time, whereby the main window seems to either not open properly or be responsive. This is a known symptom of the fact that your system needs an update. Try allowing Windows Update to execute along with all feature updates. (This fixes issues whereby Internet Explorer is out-of-date and is not able to download files - hence the 'freezing' and will also update voice synthesis).

Other things to check include ensuring your GFX card supports OpenGL 4.5 (download latest drivers) and also check which GFX card is assigned to Cougar Display. This is particularly noticable with Intel GFX embedded into your CPUs. Check the application Logs folder for specific GFX details.

Grey Windows (no OpenGL rendering)

It has been reported by some users with AMD XT series (eg 5700XT) that the application fails to start (initialise and render into the OpenGL windows) other than after the initial setup. Typically, these OpenGL windows are paused and subsequently moved to their respective positions and upon restarting the app the issue persists. If the windows remain in their original positions then the app continues to work.

It is thought that disabling a combined desktop, or setting a specific monitor as the “main monitor” is a suitable workaround. Alternatively, if the OpenGL windows are moved back to the main monitor the app launches and runs on subsequent starts. To assist in this task, add the following to the MFDCougar.ini file:


See Cubesim support for more information.

Also try the glWindowtest.exe uility on the downloads page which tests basic OpenGL rendering the same way the application does - via the use of multi-threading and multiple OpenGL contexts.

Galaxy map causes crashes

Some people are experiencing random crashes when displaying the Galaxy Map. You can disable the Galaxy Map in a number of different ways, such as limiting the max displays to 3, or manually removing the GalaxyMap role from the MFDConfig.xml , or by adding ShowMap=0 in the [GalaxyMap] section of MFDCougar.ini (this is the prefered method).
With version 1.6+ you can unassign the Galaxymap role from your displays which would be the best solution.

Continuous "Maxtrix" screens

If your Cougar Displays don't seem to be responding to game events and always seem to just show the maxtrix rain effect, check that your system clock is accurate and re-sync with the internet. Your clock must be within seconds of the internet time to properly decode the times written in the journal. Matrix screens are a symptom of the clock running too fast. Go to Control Panel, then Clock and Region, and select Internet Time
A ClockSync.bat script file is included to assist. Run the file "As Administrator".

Notice Board Feature - not displaying anything (after FSDJump and Honk)

If the notice board display desn't seem to be responding to game events, check that your system clock is accurate and re-sync with the internet. Your clock must be within seconds of the internet time to properly decode the times written in the journal. No event messages are a symptom of the clock being too slow. Go to Control Panel, then Clock and Region, and select Internet Time
A ClockSync.bat script file is included to assist. Run the file "As Administrator".

Missing Journal File / Out of date

If your Cougar Display shows the above message, check the order in which Elite and Cougar Display are launched:
MFDCougar can be executed before or after Elite is loaded, but the recommended order is:

  1. Launch Elite via Steam
  2. Launch MFDCougar.exe
  3. Select mode from Elite (Open/Solo/Private Group)
  4. Click Cougar Display system tray - and select START
Cougar Display relies upon detecting a journal file with the current date; this won't happen unless MFDCougar.exe is launched after Elite has written a journal entry. Additionally, Cougar Display tracks journal state, and the main events to initialise the state are the "loadGame" and "loadOut" events; thus launching MFDCougar after loading the CMDR profile in Elite ensures that Cougar Display can track the game properly.

Are you Playing Legacy Elite/Horizons 3.8?
You will need to make a change to a settings file since Odyssey update #11 altered the journal file naming convention.
Edit MFDCougar.ini and set PreFilterJournalFormat=0 in the [Journal] section.

License File Issues

If your having issues with the license key, please follow these steps:

  • Type license key into MFDCougar
  • Minimise to system tray
  • Click START on the tray applet
  • Click EXIT on the tray applet
An entry for the license key should now exist in your registry: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\BionicBytes\EDCD

If your still having issues with the license key, use the MFD Cougar LicenseCheck.exe utility. This tool will allow you to add your license key if its missing, and download and diagnose any issues with the process.

Alternatively, please follow these steps:

Clear Internet Explorer Cache

Behind the scenes, the application uses Windows API calls which in turn rely upon Internet Explorer to download files from the website.

Assuming you have windows 10...

  • Press WINDOWS key
    Type Control Panel in the "type here to explore"
    Under "best match" select Control Panel app

  • Select the option Network and Internet, click the Internet Options
    Note: The files of the cache can be inspected by clicking on Settings and then View Files
    Click Delete button in the Browsing History section.
    Click Delete button to delete Temporary Internet Files (ensure tick option is selected).

  • Delete local license file
    Locate your installation folder for MFDCougar
    Navigate to the MFDCougar\License folder and DELETE the licenses.txt file

You can now start MFDCougar and a new license.txt file should be present.

Cougar Button Press / Mouse Clicks / Touch - Not Responding to Key Press Binding

Please ensure you're running the latest version.
If you're having issues with binding key presses, follow these steps:

Elite Configuration

Please check the following:

  • Elite is running in window mode and not full screen (using the menus in Elite to change graphics options)
  • Elevation privileges: Ensure Elite and MFD Cougar Display are at the same elevation level (eg don't launch Elite with Admin rights and MFD Cougar with user-level)

INI Configuration

  • Check that the MFDCougar.ini file has the name of the Elite window - something like Elite - Dangerous (CLIENT)
  • Check that Elite's window has the same title (use task manager to confirm)
  • MFDCougar.ini contains a keyboard delay value you can experiment with. If the following section is missing, add it like this:


    Experiment by increasing the delay value (in milliseconds)

Elite Bindings

  • Check that Elite bindings file has been modified by MFD Cougar, and key bindings have been set for the cougar actions
  • Check that the MFD Cougar XML file does contain the bindings you think it should (MFD_Layout.xml)
  • Autoupdate mayhave replaced your customised bindings file (MFD_Layout.xml)

Testing Tools

  • The utility EliteKeyTester.exe can be used to quickly test if MFDCougar is able to send key press sequences to Elite Dangerous.
    For non-obvious reasons, certain key press combinations just don't work with Elite (for example ALT Numeric_0 doesn't work, but ALT Numeric_1 is fine).
    Use the Thrustmaster Event Tester utility, or my own keyboard debug tool (EliteClient.exe) to confirm key presses are being generated and sent correctly. This utility will help you quickly identify which key press commands are not being acted upon by Elite Dangerous and you can then amend the key binds directly.

  • You can see if the key presses are being sent if you have Thrustmaster's TARGET software.
    It comes with an Event Tester utility; this tool reports back what keys are being 'processed' / pressed. Since it's a global keyboard hook, it should confirm that the correct key presses are being generated and passed to the keyboard buffer by the application (works as long as both sending and receiving apps are on the same PC).
    event tester utility

    My own keyboard debug tool works in a different way from Event Tester (like Elite) and consumes WM_KEYDOWN/WM_KEYUP messages which are sent by MFDCougar to the Elite Dangerous client window.
    The EliteClient.exe utility displays the key presses that are being sent by MFD Cougar (or EliteKeyTester.exe) in the order they were sent.
    To use EliteClient.exe, first close down Elite Dangerous and then run EliteKeyTester.exe on the same PC.
    elite client utility tool

    Note: Currently, this tool can't distinguish between left and right Shift/Ctrl/Alt.

Avoid certain key press combinations

Certain key combinations just don't work. Keyboards are more complicated than you might think and the virtual key codes and scan codes generated behind the scenes are quite complicated and not really explainable. An example is the LShift,LAlt and numeric keypad keys 0-9. This combination would appear innocent enough but the OEM drivers actually insert an extra Shift key press when generating the key sequence for the numeric numbers 0 through 9. The "alternate" values on these keys (home,end,pgup,pgdn) work fine. There are others and these may vary from keyboard to keyboard so what works for one person may fail for another.

Key press extra keys

You should avoid using more than two modifyer keys at a time (eg CTRL + SHIFT + RALT) as the keyboard driver can't handle too many key strokes simultaneously. Also note that right Alt is more than just a single scan code - so use with caution.

Elite Doesn't Differentiate between left and right shift

Elite Client window doesn't seem to understand the difference between LEFT shift and RIGHT shift keys. This means that you could accidentaly assign duplicate key bindings to the MFD key assignments if you are not careful. The supplied MFD_Iconset.xml carefully avoids the use of BOTH left and right shift keys.

Windows 10 - Language hot keys

Windows 10 seems to auto assign shift and alt keys as langauage/keyboard selection hot keys which can interfere with the sending of key strokes to Elite.
To fix this, you'll need to remove the hot key assignments, or change them to a different combination via the Control panel

windows language
windows advanced keyboard
windows language bar key sequence

System hot keys

There may be other hotkey assignments on your system. For example, AMD drivers install hot keys for video capture; Asus AI Suite for temperature control.

Window Positions - not where they should be

Download the MFDWindowTest.exe and use this to view a report on your position/size of attached monitors - as seen by the application.
The utility will create dummy blank windows and position them as the application does - by reading the MFD.INI file.
Copy/extract the utility to the Cougar Display root folder (where MFDCougar.exe is located).