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How to use an Xbox controller on PC

If you’ve got an Xbox controller and you’re looking to use it to play games on your PC, you may want to learn how to connect it to your computer.

Whether it’s an Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S controller you’re sporting, this short article will help guide you through the process of connecting an Xbox controller to a Windows PC, via USB or Bluetooth.

Hardware Used

  • PC
  • Xbox Wireless Controller

The Short Version

  • Use a USB cable for wired connectivity
  • If your PC has Bluetooth, you can connect wirelessly
  • Hold the sync button on the Xbox controller to enter pairing mode
  • Add a device via your PC’s Bluetooth menu to pair the controller
  1. Step

    How to connect an Xbox controller to a PC via USB

    Given that Windows and Xbox are both Microsoft platforms, it’s unsurprising that connecting your Xbox controller to your PC is extremely simple. Assuming that your PC has USB-A ports, all you need to do is use the appropriate cable depending on the Xbox controller you’re using.

    If you’re using an Xbox One controller, then you’re going to need a Micro-USB to USB-A cable. If you’re using an Xbox Series controller, then you’ll need a USB-C to USB-A cable, as the port at the top of the controller is different. If you have USB-C ports on your PC, you can also use a USB-C to USB-C cable for the Xbox Series controller.

  2. Step

    Xbox controller connected via Bluetooth

    If you want to connect an Xbox controller to your PC without using a USB cable, then you’ll have to sync it to your computer using Bluetooth. First off, you need to check if your PC is Bluetooth-compatible, as not all PCs have Bluetooth as standard.

    If you do have a Bluetooth-ready PC, all you have to do is hit the Windows button on your computer, type in Bluetooth, then click ‘Add Bluetooth or other device’ and then ‘Bluetooth’ in the pop-up that appears.

    Now pick up your Xbox controller, hold down the Xbox button to turn it on and then hold down the circular button on the top of the peripheral, which is near the USB port. This will put the Xbox controller into pairing mode, denoted by the flashing Xbox button. Once you’ve done this, check the devices list on your PC and you should see the ‘Xbox Wireless Controller’ appear. Click on it to pair the device and you will be able to use your Xbox controller with your PC.


What if my PC doesn’t have Bluetooth?

If you don’t have Bluetooth, you won’t be able to connect your Xbox controller wirelessly, though you can pick up an inexpensive Bluetooth USB adapter and plug that into your PC to allow for external Bluetooth functionality.

Will the Xbox controller work with all games on PC?

Xbox is a Microsoft platform much like Windows, so connecting an Xbox controller to a Windows PC will for the most part be a plug-and-play experience, especially if you’re playing Xbox games. However, some games may not work with controllers whatsoever or feature any Xbox controller compatibility, so it’s worth doing your research before you attempt to connect it.

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