Windows: Cubase Window Handling - Why Doesn't It Work Like Every Other Application?

So this is an on-going pet peeve of mine in Cubase: the window handling order seems completely out of whack. Plugin GUI’s constantly disappear when I don’t want them to. Sometimes “Always on Top” will get things acting as expected, but sometimes, “Always on Top” will actually have the opposite effect and hide GUI’s.


  1. Load up a track with some plugins
  2. Make sure “Always on Top” is on
  3. Hold Windows key + arrow left to tile Cubase in the left side of the screen
  4. Tile something on the right side of the screen

Result: Plugins disappear when tiled.

Expected Result: plugin windows should remain on top of Cubase GUi

  1. Turn “Always on Top” off and repeat tiling

Result: Plugin windows remain on top. :question:

Expected Result: maybe they disappear.

That’s just my one current example, but there are lots of instances where I’ll struggle to get the window I want on top and I never run into this issue in other DAWs. Sometimes a Cubase dialog/window will end up behind something, sometimes a plugin window (like U-he preset save windows) will end up behind things. It may take a second or two to resolve, but Cubase is the only DAW I’ve ever used where I’ve had to fight the window ordering.

And that’s not even to mention the awful title bar on Windows that’s literally (ok, figuratively) the worst thing ever. I guess I just did mention it.

I’d much rather see Steinberg address the poor window behavior in Cubase than trying to figure out how to make every window in Cubase black for example. The window handling is somewhere where GUI resources actually need to be spent IMO.

+1 to all of that

As a relatively new user, I’m shocked at how bad this is. I would encourage Steinberg to make improving this a top priority. It’s the kind of feature I should never ever have to think twice about, but I’m frequently hunting for windows behind windows.

I am helpless with stuff like ahk. I tried it once but didn’t understand a single word from the manual
All I need is that all key commands I make got to the Project window and never to the mixer. ideally even when no Cubase window is in the foreground like a controller would work…
Is that easily doable ?

Hi thanks very much, but the following question might show you how clueless I am.
If you speak about editor in the last lines, do you mean Notepad or a Cubase editor ?

Sorry, but I have to disagree. Coming from 6.5.5 (I’ll let 7.0.x beside : it’s been an utter failure that kept me for a long time from wanting to upgrade Cubase), what I see are considerable improvements since : with 6.5.5, I always had problems to keep the arrangement window maximized, among other issues. I upgraded to C10 just few weeks ago and am really pleased with these, among others :

  • the windows stay maximized whenever I click on the dedicated Windows OS button for this. It wasn’t the case before, especially with the arrangement one…
  • the multi-windows interface : is our friend, here : it has become as easy as possible to navigate between the MixConsole and the arrangement views. If needed, I can add a maximized editor. The whole thing makes me feel as if I had a multi-monitor setup.
  • The different zones are great additions : in example, and if needed, I can have the key editor linked to the arrangement and this wasn’t possible with Cubase 6 or 7.

Overall, the windows management seems much more, both, robust and user friendly than it was 5 years ago. YMMV, of course, but I am truely enjoying the use of C10 as it is now, I must say, and the UI is a part of the feeling. There are several things that I would like to see tweakable, but well… And I don’t have problems using plug-in windows, but trying to tile these is not a thing that I do, usually…

The issue isn’t just with tiling, though that’s definitely one big culprit. You’ve never had a Cubase dialog box appear behind a plugin window, or lost a dialog box from a plugin behind other items? The logic should be simple right:

  1. Most recently opened window to the top of the order…
  2. Unless the user clicks another open window to give it focus, then that window goes on top and the previous windows get moved back one in the order

There’s nothing tricky about that and it’s how every other application I’ve ever used works. But somehow, Cubase gets confused sometimes. Or only does that if the Cubase window is maximized. And it needs a separate “Always on Top” option for plugins.

The second they had to develop an “Always on Top” option for plugins, someone should have stepped in and said, “wait, if we’re looking to build this band-aid, what’s the root cause issue that we should really be addressing?” Root cause problem solving, not band-aids.

Same for the floating tile bar on Windows. Why would they break with every standard Windows Operating System convention? That stupid bar sits on top of other menu bars after I think I’ve closed Cubase. This is completely non-standard on Windows.

Lastly, just because you always work in full-screen and never tile doesn’t excuse that there are issues when people do. Always remember: just because an issue doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

yes plugins disappearing based on which Windows window arrangement is very annoying.

It would be great to get some developer comment on what is happening here.

Let’s say that, from an instrument track, I open both the involved VSTi and a compressor as audio insert. What I see here with C10 are the following :

  • When ‘Always on top’ is not activated for a VSTi or plug-in window the involved windows disappear if I go from the project window to the MixConcole one (both being maximized). But they remain at disposal via the task bar or with with a minimized state clearly displayed.
  • When ‘Always on top’ is activated, it’s even better for me : both windows are displayed on top and, thank to this, I can freely go on the arrangement window or in the mixer one.
    I honestly have no problem with these behaviors, in both cases. Rather the opposite, actually…

Concerning the ‘Floating tile bar’, I guess that you are talking about the Cubase desktop bar. Not sure that I like it, honestly, but it’s not a nuisance either. I have deactivated it, so it’s appearing when all the other Cubase windows are minimized and indeed reminds me that Cubase is still working in the background while allowing me to make something else in Windows desktop. Quite practical, IMO…

So, maybe all this isn’t perfectly following Windows rules but I don’t care and really would like this behavior to be kept. I’m perfectly conscious that each of us work differently, but saying that ‘the window handling order seems completely out of whack’ is, erm… a little exaggerated, don’t you think ? Again, after having used 6.5 for several years, C10 is rather a relief for me…

I remember always having a problem with this, starting from SL2 : the only acceptable thing was to keep the mixer ‘Always on top’, otherwise the arrangement one was immediatly shrinking when using it. I’m glad to see that this has been solved, since. And sincerely, I don’t feel like C10 is slower than C6.5 concerning the UI display and again, I really like to be able to quickly pass from the arrangement to the MixConsole, BOTH maximized, with the or the task bar : for me, it’s a great improvement. I’m much more concerned by the time needed to load a project, but this is another debate…

The ‘Floating Title Bar’ (ie. the top main menu) is a disaster for me. I recently got a 43" 4k monitor and having that thing glued to the top of the monitor is RIDICULOUS.


Completely agreed. For me, one of the most annoying things around the UI is the lack of the menu bar hotkeys like all the other Windows applications, which was dropped to the floor with this new floating bar.
It’s a killer as I cannot reach the menus with a keyboard alone any more.

My -guess- is that whoever does UX for Cubase is Mac-centric… because, you know, all the ‘really creative people’ use Macs. So we get all the really crappy aspects of Mac-World. (Sorry guys, but the myth of Mac superiority in terms of usability, reliability, etc. died a tragic death -years- ago.)

My guess is, it was the fastest way to get results in the framework they program in.
Nevertheless, I absolutely hate it.

I think the opposite is likely the case: I bet they had to do extra work to make it behave that way in Windows because it’s completely non-complaint.

Not if it is a part/limitation of the framework, it simply outputs OS X and Windows code for the GUI you designed.
But what do we know :slight_smile:
I can see this being a major problem on 4K screens and the missing right click menu. The travel to the top for finding a menu item, and back again, could get old really fast.
Yes there are workarounds, but why should we have to put in extra work for something that is IMHO poorly designed.