How To Use Your Xbox One Controller on your PC
For some, a controller is the only way to play games. If you’re not of the keyboard and mouse generation, or just don’t like how floaty a mouse can feel and how rigid keyboard controls can feel, then a controller is the only way to go. There are hundreds of third-party controllers on the market, but if you have an Xbox, you can use your Xbox One controller on your PC.
Given that Microsoft owns both Xbox and Windows 10, it isn’t surprising that the two play nicely together. Microsoft is aware that a lot of people prefer to use a controller even when they aren’t playing on a console, and they’re actively bringing Xbox and Windows closer with UWP apps, Xbox mode in Windows 10, and upgrades to the Xbox that will make it play nicely with Windows. Including the XInput API into Windows core helps, too.
Both wired and wireless Xbox One controllers will work on a Windows PC, so even if you only have one or the other, you’re still good to try this out.
Use an Xbox One controller on a PC
To use your Xbox One controller on your PC, you will obviously need a controller, an internet connected PC, and ten minutes of your time. The controller will either be USB, wireless, or Bluetooth. All will work with Windows.
Wired Xbox One controller
The wired controller is the easiest to get working with a PC. The controller comes with a USB cable for charging, so all you need do is plug one end into your PC and the other into the controller. If you are using Windows 10, it should automatically detect the controller and ready it for use.
My Windows 10 installation downloaded and installed the drivers automatically. It took care of everything and the controller was ready in a few seconds. That’s because Windows 10 has the Xbox drivers installed as part of the Xbox accessories app.
If you use Windows 8, you will need to manually update the Device Manager.
- Connect your Xbox One controller to your PC and let it be detected by Windows.
- Right click the Windows Start button and select Device Manager.
- Navigate to the Microsoft Xbox One controller entry.
- Right click, select Update Driver Software and let Windows automatically download and install the drivers.
If everything goes according to plan, then you should be good to start playing without any further fuss. But if automatic download doesn’t work, Techspot has the drivers for manual install.
Wireless Xbox One controller
To get a wireless Xbox One controller working, you will need a wireless adapter. The Xbox One should have one included, but you can buy one separately if you need to. They’re not the cheapest dongle you can get your hands on–it costs over half the price of the controller itself–but if you keep an eye open you might be able to find one secondhand, too.
Plug the wireless adapter into your PC and let Windows pick it up. If it doesn’t, try a different USB port. Windows should detect the adapter and install any drivers necessary to run it.
Then hold the Xbox button on the controller to turn it on and press the button on the adapter to make it search for the controller. Press the Bind button near the top of the controller and watch the blinking light. Once it stops blinking and goes solid, the controller and adapter have paired and you should be able to use it right away.
Bluetooth Xbox One controller
If you have the latest Xbox One controller, you may have Bluetooth capability. If that’s the case and your PC has a Bluetooth dongle or controller, you can use that to pair the two if you wish.
To get it working:
- Turn on your Xbox One controller and place it close to your PC.
- Navigate to Settings in Windows, then Devices.
- Enable Bluetooth and wait for Windows to load the dependencies.
- Press the Bind button at the top of the controller.
- When the controller appears in the list of Devices, select Pair.
The process is quite painless, considering this is Microsoft we are talking about. As long as your PC is running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and has a functioning Bluetooth controller, it should be simple to connect the two devices.
Update your controller
If things don’t go quite to plan, or you like to stay current, you may want to update the Xbox One controller. You can do this via your Xbox One, as you might imagine, but you can also update it via the Xbox Accessories app within Windows. Once connected, your controller will be analyzed by the app and you may see an ‘Update Required’ message on the screen.
Follow the update wizard in the app to complete the process. It only takes a couple minutes and will take care of everything for you. Once updated, your Xbox One controller will be ready to use.
Using your Xbox One controller on your PC is very straightforward, even in the worst case scenario. Best case scenario is plug and play, with Windows taking care of everything automatically. Even if it doesn’t, updating drivers and pairing devices only takes a few minutes, and then you can game as hard as you like!