General troubleshooting guide for Cubase 7 and 8

General troubleshooting guide for Cubase 7 and 8
General troubleshooting guide for Cubase 7, 8 and 9

Cubase 8 is probably the most stable version Steinberg has released yet. Still, from time to time, some users experience minor bugs or issues. A lot of these issues might be caused by third party plugins, tampered settings or a generally unstable computer. This article is a general guide and will explain some of the methods you can use to “refresh” Cubase in case this happens to you.

1. UPDATE everything!

A lot of users are complaining or asking for advice when something goes wrong in Cubase. Generally speaking it is imperative that you update your:

  • OS (Windows,OSX)
  • Motherboard
  • Graphics card
  • Third party plugins
  • Cubase
  • eLicenser

Remember that developers rely on each others platforms to make the software work accordingly. For example, if you update Cubase, but not your graphics card you might get problems with the new GUI features in Cubase because Cubase relies on an updated version of your graphics card.

Also, updates are not rolled out for fun… In fact developers try to keep updates at a minimum if possible. Most updates does not contain updates that the user can actually see, but bug fixes, behind the curtain, working to ensure a stable performance. Update everything! Update, update, update!

2. Reboot your Computer

It might seem like a real pain, but it’s better to do a power cycle than to spend hours trying to figure out a problem that can be solved easily. Reboot after you have updated your system. This is generally related to driver and RAM problems. This can be hard to troubleshoot for the average user so make sure you give the computer a reboot.

3. Start Cubase in safe mode

Why would we want to do this? Running Cubase in safe mode means that the custom user preferences will be bypassed and Cubase will start with the default settings. You might be aware that Cubase stores your custom preferences in the AppData/Roaming/Steinberg/Cubase folder. When you launch Cubase in safe mode Cubase will use the preferences in C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase instead. This is the directory for the default settings.

Running Cubase in safe mode will NOT disable plugins. In other words, if you run Cubase in safe mode you don’t have to delete the preferences or re-install Cubase (hopefully).

You can start Cubase in safe mode by holding SHIFT+ALT+CTRL while you are clicking on the Cubase icon. A window will appear, asking you what you would like to do. Click on “Disable program preferences” to start Cubase in Safe mode.

Cubase safe mode
Cubase safe mode

After opening Cubase in safe mode you will get one of two results:

  • If the problem is still there it means that the problem is not related to any settings you might have done in Cubase. In other words it is probably not your fault and the problem can be called a “bug” (at least if you have followed the first two steps!).
  • If the problem is gone the problem might have something to do with the settings or changes you have made in Cubase either accidentally or intentionally. You might want to delete your settings by activating Cubase in safe mode again but click on the “Delete program preferences”. Remember that this will delete your settings so there is no way back unless you backup your preferences.

How to backup user settings in Cubase

Backing up the user settings in Cubase is a good habit even if you don’t have problems with the software. In windows 8 you can easily do this by making a copy of:

General settings in Cubase:

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Cubase 8_64

Track pictures in Cubase:

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Cache\Track Picture Thumbnails

VST3 Presets (instruments & effects):

C:\Users\Username\Documents\VST3 Presets

Track presets (Audio, Instrument, MIDI, Multi):

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Track Presets

Cubase 8_64 might be replaced with the version of Cubase you are using and this directory might vary depending if you run a Mac/Windows and which version of OS you have.

If the problem still persists?

If the problem still persists you basically have two options. Either re-install Cubase or ask for help on the forum or any other music production forum.  But remember that you will always have a better prognosis if you provide relevant information. Getting help with computer software is much like going to the doctor. The better anamnesis you give the more the doctor will be able to help you! This is a list of information that you ALWAYS should include:

  • Operating system: Windows/Mac?
  • OS version: Windows 8/8.1/7/Yosemite..?
  • Cubase version
  • What have you tried updating?
  • Detailed information about the problem
  • Detailed information on your approach. (What have you tried and what have failed/succeeded)
  • Does the problem happen all the time, sporadic or just once? Can you replicate the problem?
  • A screenshot illustrating the problem or a screen capture video if possible (a picture is worth a thousand words)


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