How to connect Xbox controller to PC

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So you want to connect an Xbox controller to your PC? Allow me to help.

Plenty of PC games on Steam, or any other gaming marketplace, natively allow for controller support. Heck, some games are even better that way. The only problem is that there are a few different ways to connect an Xbox controller to a PC — and it can be a little tough to know which way is best.

Here’s how it works.


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How to connect an Xbox controller to a PC

There are three main methods for connecting an Xbox controller to a PC, according to Microsoft.

1.Use a USB cable

The first method is the most straightforward, but also the most limiting.

Put simply, your Xbox controller almost certainly came with a USB cable of some sort. Older Xbox controllers (such as the Xbox One gamepad) connect via micro-USB. Newer ones (like the one that comes with Series X), on the other hand, connect via USB-C. The next step is simple: plug it into the controller — and then plug it into a USB port on the PC.

This is a pretty foolproof way of playing PC games with an Xbox controller, but it might not be the best way to do it if you are sitting far away from the PC.

2. Use a wireless adapter

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to connect an Xbox controller to a PC wirelessly. First up is via the wireless adapter dongle that you can get for around $30.

This little fella is basically a USB stick that goes into an open port on your PC. To pair a controller with it, turn the controller on by holding the big Xbox button until the button starts flashing. At that point, hold the pair button on the adapter dongle, at which point a small light will start flashing. Once that happens, hold the pair button on the top of Xbox controller.

If you do this right, the Xbox controller light will flash rapidly for a little bit before eventually staying lit, with no flashing. That means it’s connected, and you shouldn’t have to go through that process again the next time you use the controller on a PC.

3. Use Bluetooth

You want one that looks like the bottom controller.
Credit: Microsoft

Lastly, it is possible to connect an Xbox controller to a PC via Bluetooth. The only caveats are that you need Windows 10 Anniversary or later — and the right kind of Xbox controller. If your controller looks like the bottom one in the image above, it has Bluetooth. If not, you should get a USB cable or wireless adapter.

Anyway, if you’ve ever paired a Bluetooth device to a PC before, this process will be familiar. Turn on the Xbox controller by holding the Xbox button, and then hold the pair button on the top of the controller for three seconds until the Xbox button starts flashing.

Next, go to the Settings menu of your PC and find the Bluetooth pairing menu under “Devices.” Make sure Bluetooth is turned on. Once it is, you should see the controller listed as a pairable device. Simply click on it and confirm that you want to pair it.

As you can see, pairing an Xbox controller to a PC is simple as can be. At worst, you’ll need to spend $30. Most likely, though, you’ll be able to do it effortlessly in just a few seconds. Have fun!

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