How to connect a PS4 controller to a PC

Some games are just better with a proper console-style controller compared with a keyboard and mouse, and Sony’s DualShock 4 is one of the best out there.

Although the trusty keyboard/mouse combo wasn’t designed with gaming in mind, it’s a control scheme that works beautifully for strategy titles, first person shooters and all manner of modern genres. However, the likes of sports, racing and fighting titles are better suited to a dedicated games controller, with their ergonomic construction, dual thumbsticks and a small collection of buttons that sit directly underneath your fingertips.

You have a huge selection of PC controllers to choose from, including some quite outlandish efforts such as the Steam controller. However, if you already have a Playstation 4 in your home, then why not save some cash and use that brilliant DualShock 4 instead? It’s easy to connect to your PC, either using a cable or wirelessly over Bluetooth. Plus you can take that cash you would have otherwise spent on a controller and put it towards Cyberpunk 2077 instead.

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How to connect a PS4 controller to a PC – The Steam method

By far the most straightforward way to hook up your DualShock 4 to a computer is by using Steam. This popular gaming platform has built-in support for the PS4 controller, so in just a few simple steps you’ll be done.

  • Log into Steam and then click the ‘Steam’ tab to the far left of the toolbar. In the drop-down menu, select ‘Settings’.
  • Click the ‘Controller’ option and poke the ‘General Controller Settings’.
  • In this menu, tick the ‘Playstation configuration support’ box.
  • Now plug the DualShock 4 into your PC using a USB cable and Steam should detect it. The controller will pop up in that General Controller Settings window under the ‘Detected controllers’ label.
  • Click on ‘Unregistered: Playstation 4 controller’ and a ‘Preferences’ box will pop up. If you tap on that you can rename the DualShock, configure the rumble and even play around with the LED.

Note that to make use of the PS4 controller in your PC games you’ll need to enter Steam’s Big Picture Mode. This just takes a click, though: you’ll find the icon up top on the main screen, just to the right of your Steam username. It looks like a box with two arrows inside.

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How to connect a PS4 controller to a PC – The DS4Windows method

If you don’t want to use your DualShock with a Steam title, then you’ll need to use an application called DS4Windows instead. This takes a bit longer, but isn’t too tricky.

  • First up, head to the DS4Windows website and download the app to your PC. It’s a single ZIP file and it’s only tiny (roughly 1MB).
  • Once that’s downloaded, extract all files from the ZIP file (right click and then choose ‘Extract files’), making a mental note of the folder you’re extracting to. If you don’t see this option you’ll need to install a program like WinRAR first.
  • Open the folder with the extracted files and install DS4Windows by double-clicking the DS4Windows.EXE file. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  • When it’s installed on your PC, a pop-up window should appear. Choose to install the DS4 Driver.
  • Now you can simply plug your PS4 controller into your PC using a microUSB cable and it should be detected, as long as the DS4Windows app is open. In the future, whenever you need to use the DualShock 4, simply open the app and you can immediately connect.

How to connect a PS4 controller to a PC – Bluetooth mode

You don’t have to be constantly tethered to your PC with a USB cable. Your DualShock 4 controller supports Bluetooth for wireless connectivity, as do all modern laptops and computers. Make sure you’ve installed the DS4Windows app (full instructions in the previous section) and then follow the below steps.

  • First, head to the Bluetooth menu on your PC. To do this, click on the upwards-facing arrow in the bottom right corner of the task bar and then click on the Bluetooth symbol, followed by ‘Add a Bluetooth device’. Alternatively, you can type Bluetooth into the Windows search box to the left side of the task bar to open the BT settings.
  • Now press and hold both the share button and the PS button (that big one in the middle) together on your DualShock controller, for a few seconds. The LED on your controller should start to blink, showing that it’s in pairing mode.
  • In the Bluetooth menu on your computer, the DualShock 4 should pop up. Click on it to complete the pairing.
  • Now, as long as the DS4Windows app is open on your computer, you can use the PS4 controller in your PC games.
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