It's happening again, kicked out to black screen

prefs.ini and the ships directory do exist you might have to look around for them.
Go to where you found the debug files and go from there.

Can’t remember where those debug files were. Opened every directory and subdirectory (20+), no prefs.ini file. I can see this is a bit of a dead end for you, but I appreciate your help.

You should be able to find prefs.INI if you use a file search.
Try starting in the user directory

OK, found it, thanks. Ran it in windowed mode. Same problem.