How To Connect an Xbox Controller To a PC

connect an Xbox controller to a PC

The Xinput interface makes it easy to connect an Xbox controller to a PC. The configuration of the key layout and the general compatibility between a PC game and Microsoft controllers are perfectly harmonized thanks to the common ecosystem. We show you the different connection types that allow you to quickly use an Xbox controller on your PC.

Just so you know, we are affiliates. Read our affiliate disclosure

The latest generation of Microsoft-branded Xbox is called Xbox Series X and is, according to the manufacturer, the fastest and most powerful Xbox ever. The matching Xbox Wireless Controller is perfectly suited for PC gaming with a controller.

Related: Best controllers for Nintendo switch

In general, the controller can be connected to a PC in three different ways; we present them to you below. Older models of Xbox One and Xbox 360 can also be paired to a PC in an easy way. However, old controllers like those of the Xbox 360 cannot be connected to the PC by Bluetooth, because this mode of transmission was not yet used at the time of their release.

Connect an Xbox controller to a PC via a USB port

The easiest way to connect an Xbox controller to a PC is to use the supplied USB cable.

  • The connection between the Xbox controller and the PC works exactly like the connection between the controller and the Xbox.
  • Simply plug the USB cable into the controller socket and connect it to a compatible USB port on the computer.
  • Depending on the Windows operating system of your computer, the connection with the newly connected hardware takes place automatically.
  • In Windows 8.1 and earlier, the drivers required for connection are automatically downloaded and installed. However, the connection procedure is carried out instantly for more recent versions of Windows.

Wireless connection of the Xbox controller to the PC: valid for all Xbox controllers

In addition to the USB cable connection, Windows offers the possibility of connecting a wireless Xbox controller. This requires an Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows. On some computers, the adapter is already integrated.

Connection via Xbox Wireless Adapter

  • To begin the connection process, the wireless adapter must be turned on.
  • Next, turn on the Xbox controller by pressing the Xbox button.
  • To establish the connection, you must search for compatible controllers on the Xbox Wireless Adapter. This is triggered by pressing the Pair button on the wireless adapter.
  • During this time, you can put the Xbox controller into pairing mode. Just like the adapter, this is done by pressing the Pair button on the controller.
  • Once the connection between the controller and the PC is established, the Xbox button on the controller will remain lit continuously.

Connection via wireless adapter built into the PC

  • To establish the connection, just hold the Xbox button on the controller for about three seconds. The button flashes from then on.
  • Next, press the Pair button on the controller. This then flashes more quickly and indicates that the connection has been established.
  • On the PC, start the connection via ” Settings ” and ” Devices “.
  • Under ‘ Add Device ‘, add the controller by clicking the plus symbol. The third selection option ” Everything else ” is used for this. The ” Xbox Controller with Xbox Wireless Adapter is mentioned there.
connection options
The “All others” option can be used to connect an Xbox controller via a wireless adapter.
  • The next step is to select the controller you want to connect with.
  • After successfully connecting, the Xbox button will light up solid.

Connect Xbox Controller to PC via Bluetooth

In addition to the two connection options shown above, an Xbox controller can also be connected to a computer via Bluetooth. For this, the controller must of course be compatible with Bluetooth.

To find out to what extent a gamepad is compatible, you must consult the description of the input device. For example, Xbox 360 controllers are not compatible, but newer Xbox One and Xbox Series X controllers can be paired to the computer via Bluetooth.

Another feature that indicates Bluetooth compatibility is the material of the controller surface: on Bluetooth-enabled controllers, the plastic around the Xbox button is part of the controller surface.

To pair an Xbox controller to a PC via Bluetooth, proceed in the same way as for the wireless adapter connection:

  • First, enable Bluetooth on the computer under ” Settings ” and ” Devices “.
Bluetooth Settings Device Manager
Enable Bluetooth to connect an Xbox controller to a PC.
  • Next, turn on the Xbox controller using the Xbox button.
  • Then press and hold the Pair button on the controller for three seconds, so that the Xbox button starts flashing rapidly.
  • In the Bluetooth settings and by clicking on the plus symbol, you can now select Bluetooth as the pairing option.
Connection options in the Bluetooth menu
Use the first option to pair via Bluetooth.
  • The PC then searches for a compatible controller. Press the pairing button on the controller to confirm. The controller is then ready for use.

The connection possibilities presented above also allow you to play games purchased on software platforms such as Steam or the Epic Games Store with an Xbox controller. Microsoft also offers the xCloud and the Xbox Cloud Gaming the possibility of accessing a vast library of games on the computer and playing them with a controller.