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How to connect PS4’s DualShock 4 controller to a PC

Sony launched its PlayStation 4 console this past fall and included with the next-generation console was its next-generation controller. The DualShock 4 debuted with an impressive set of features, allowing it to quickly supplant the DualShock 3 among Sony loyalists. Though slightly heavier, the DualShock 4 improved its analog sticks and triggers while also adding a revolutionary capacitive touch pad.

Perhaps one of its greatest features was Sony’s commitment to making the DualShock 4 compatible with Windows-based PCs right out of the box. However, the promised compatibility proved not to exist quite like Sony promised, nor does Sony offer an official set of drivers for the DualShock 4. Unfortunately, this leaves much to be desired for PS4 owners hoping to use the solid DualShock 4 over a traditional keyboard and mouse for Windows-based gaming.

Worry not, the use of a PS4 controller on your PC is no longer a pipe dream. Thanks to a Sony-loyal programmer, an adapted set of drivers exists which tricks your computer into thinking you’re using an Xbox 360 controller. So to help you download and execute the required programs we’ve put together this simple, step-by-step walkthrough. What follows is our comprehensive guide on connecting a DualShock 4 controller to a Windows-based PC.

Update: This article has been updated since it was originally published on June 29, 2014, to reflect new options and refine various steps.

Step 1. Download the latest Xbox 360 controller drivers

Before you locate the required drivers you’ll need the most recent Xbox 360 controller drivers from Microsoft’s website — we’ll be essentially treating the PS4 controller as an Xbox 360 controller, at least as far as Windows is concerned. Just select your operating system from the drop-down menu on the site and click Download.

Xbox 360 driver download

Locate the program file and open it to start the installation process. After clicking I accept this agreement, click Next and the drivers will install to your computer in a matter of minutes.

Driver Setup

Note: In addition to the Xbox 360 controller drivers you’ll need the latest edition of DirectX Runtime, Microsoft .NET 4.0, and Visual C 2010/2012 Runtime installed on your computer. Each are available via the Microsoft website and require just a few clicks to download and install. The newest version of the DS4 Tool also includes downloads of these programs.

Step 2. Download and install the latest DS4Tool

With the drivers installed, head over to the PCSX2 forum and download the latest version of the DS4 tool. PCSX2 contributor jhebbel updated the previous tools to specifically work with DualShock 4 controllers. Jhebbel modeled the software off the DS3Tool, which allows the use of DualShock 3 controllers on a PC.

Scroll down to the attached files in the forum thread and select the latest DS4Tool (which at the time of this writing was 1.4.40). After you download the file, locate the file titled “DS4Tool” and open it to begin the download process. The software’s comprehensive setup wizard will then scan your computer and prompt you to download the necessary software not already installed on your PC. Simply click the Next button and allow the setup wizard to install the necessary components.

Related: How to connect a PS3 controller to a PC

DS4Tool Setup

Once you install the required software, click the Finish button and the DS4 Tool installer will automatically launch. After choosing where to install the program, check the various boxes to agree to the terms and conditions before clicking Install.

DS4Tool Install

Locate the DS4 Tool folder and launch the program once the installation process finishes. If everything installed correctly, the program should launch and present you with a setup menu for your DualShock 4 controller.

Step 3. Connect your DualShock 4 controller to your PC

There are two ways to connect your DualShock 4 controller to your PC, either via a USB connection or Bluetooth. We recommend connecting via a USB connection due to its reliability as well as the fact some Bluetooth chipsets aren’t compatible with the DS4Tool. Once you connect the controller, navigate back to the DS4 Tool program and open it. When the window opens, your PC should automatically recognize your DualShock 4 controller and allow you to modify a handful of device settings.

Note: If you’re having issues connecting your DualShock 4 controller try closing all other applications and connecting it again with a USB cable.

DS4Windows

The DS4 Tool allows you to activate automatic profile switching, adjust the joystick sensitivity, and customize your button layout. You even have the ability to map controls for games which don’t currently support controllers of any kind. You can also control how much the controller rumbles and whether you want the touchpad to control your PC’s mouse pointer.

Once you’ve finished tinkering with the options your DualShock 4 is now ready for use with any of your PC games. Keep in mind the DS4Tool is still in beta so there are still some bugs. If you encounter any bugs, or the program shuts down, simply reboot the ScpServer application and re-sync your controller as you would normally. Also, we recommend frequently checking for updates as the developer constantly adds new features and stability components to the software. To update the program, simply double-click Check for updates in the main DS4 Tool folder.

[Header image courtesy of Akirbs/Shutterstock]

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