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How to connect an Xbox One controller to a PC

Although a mouse and keyboard can get you far on PC — it’s the preferred input method for shooter and strategy games, in particular — some titles simply work better with a controller. Games like Resident Evil 3 and World War Zwhile playable with a keyboard and mouse, feel at home on a game pad.

As a Microsoft product, it should come as little surprise that Windows supports Xbox One controllers with little fuss. With plug-and-play support, you can easily connect your Xbox One controller, no additional configuration required. It’s one of the best controllers for PC gaming, and with the upcoming launch of the Xbox Series X, you can snag one for cheap.

Here’s how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC.

Further reading

How to connect an Xbox One controller to PC

To help you play all of your favorite PC games with your favorite Xbox One controller, we’ve put together this simple step-by-step walkthrough. Before we begin, you should know that there are three ways to do this: USB, wireless, or Bluetooth. You should also make sure your controller is updated with the latest Firmware.

You might also like How to connect a PS4 controller to a PC and How to connect Nintendo Switch controllers to a PC

Connect your Xbox One controller using USB

Step 1: Use a micro USB cable to connect your Xbox One controller to your PC. If you have a wireless controller, simply use your charging cable. If you have a wired controller, you can just plug it in like you would with your console.

Operating system-specific limitations

Windows 10: You can have eight controllers connected at once. With chat headsets connected, that number decreases to four and with stereo headsets, it drops to two.

Windows 7/8: You can only connect four controllers at once. No headset support.

Connect your Xbox One controller wirelessly

  • Step 1: Purchase the Xbox Wireless Adapter ($25).
  • Step 2: Connect Xbox Wireless Adapter to an open USB port on your PC. Complete the setup process for the adapter as outlined here.
  • Step 3: Press the Guide button (Xbox logo) on your controller to turn it on.
  • Step 4: Press the sync button on top of the controller until the Xbox logo begins flashing (it’s the small button just right of LB).
  • Step 5: Press the small sync button on the adapter. Once the Xbox logo on the controller stops flashing and turns solid, you’re good to go.

Connect your Xbox One controller using Bluetooth

Some Xbox One controllers support Bluetooth for wireless connection. To tell if your controller does, look at the plastic around the Xbox logo. If the surrounding plastic is part of the main controller body, it supports Bluetooth. If not, you’re out of luck. Bluetooth-compatible Xbox One controllers come bundled with the Xbox One S and have been sold ever since. If you purchased a new controller after August 2016, there’s a good chance it has Bluetooth. Look at the images below as an example.

  • Step 1: Navigate to Settings on your PC and click Devices.
  • Step 2: Click the Bluetooth settings option to make sure your Bluetooth is turned on. Stay in this menu.
  • Step 3: Press the Guide button and then the sync button on your controller. The logo should start blinking rapidly.
  • Step 4: On your PC, choose Add Bluetooth or other device, and click Bluetooth. This tells your PC to look for your controller.
  • Step 5: Once it shows up, choose Xbox Wireless Controller to finish the pairing process.

Using the Xbox Accessories app

Before diving into games with your newly connected Xbox One controller, you can customize your controller with the Xbox Accessories app. It’s available through the Microsoft Store and allows you to remap your buttons, swap the thumbsticks, and more. If you have the hefty Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, you can also manage your profiles in the app. More importantly, though, you can update your controller’s firmware through the app. Firmware updates usually come with various improvements and support for other peripherals. If you have an update available, make sure to connect your Xbox One controller with a USB cable. Although we’ve never had any problems, some user reports suggest that you can brick your controller when updating wirelessly.

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