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How to set up an Xbox 360 Controller for Windows

Many PC games let you play with an Xbox controller instead of a keyboard or mouse. The Xbox 360 Controller for Windows can be easily installed on any PC that has an available USB port and is running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows 7.

Note This information applies only to the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows. For help with the Xbox One Wireless Controller, see How to connect an Xbox One Wireless Controller to a Windows PC. For help with other gamepads or joysticks, or for information on configuring a specific game so that you can play it with a controller, refer to the manufacturer’s website or support center.

Xbox 360 Controller for Windows

Set up a wired controller on Windows 10

Follow these steps to install your Xbox 360 wired controller on Windows 10:

  1. Plug the Xbox 360 controller into any USB 2.0 or 3.0 port on the computer.
  2. Windows 10 will automatically install drivers for your controller, so you won't have to download or install software other than Windows 10 updates. Once you see the pop-up notification that the drivers have been installed, you can use your controller.
  3. Open a game or the Xbox app and test your controller by pressing a button, pulling a trigger, or moving a stick on the controller.

Notes

  • If your Xbox 360 wired controller is not detected by your PC, try plugging it into a different USB port, and then test it again.
  • If your controller still does not work, check that Windows 10 is fully updated. Install any updates and then try again.
  • Refer to your game documentation for information about how to configure the Xbox 360 controller for a specific game.

Set up a wired controller on Windows 8.1 or Windows 8

Drivers for Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 are installed by default. Simply plug your controller into a USB port and the driver will self-install.

If you’re having trouble with the drivers, you can install the controller software on a Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 PC by using Windows 7 compatibility mode. To do this, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Install the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows software

  1. Go to Xbox 360 Controller for Windows.
  2. Scroll down and select Downloads. Select the version of Windows 7 that matches the processor on your computer:
    • Windows 7 (32-bit only)
    • Windows 7 (64-bit only)
  3. From the Languages dropdown list, select the operating system language.
  4. Click on the software link below the language dropdown list.
  5. Save the file.
  6. In the downloads location on your PC, right-click the downloaded program and select Properties.
  7. On the Compatibility tab, select the Run this program in compatibility mode for checkbox, and then select Windows 7 from the dropdown list.
  8. Select Apply, and then select OK.
  9. Double-click the program to run it. The Xbox 360 Accessories Setup program installs the necessary files on the computer. You might be prompted to restart when finished.

Step 2: Connect the Xbox 360 wired controller to your computer

Plug the Xbox 360 wired controller into any USB 2.0 or 3.0 port on the computer.

Step 3: Test the controller

  1. Open the Game Controllers dialog box.
    • For Windows 8: At the Start screen on your computer, type joy.cpl. Then, in the search results, select joy.cpl.
  2. Select Xbox 360 Controller, and then select Properties.
  3. Test your Xbox 360 wired controller by pressing a button, pulling a trigger, or moving a stick on the controller.
  4. If your controller is not detected by your PC, try plugging it into a different USB port, and then test it again.

Refer to your game documentation for information about how to configure the Xbox 360 controller for a specific game.

Set up a wired controller on Windows 7

Step 1: Install the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows software

You can install the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows software one of two ways.

Note A standard Xbox 360 wired controller can be connected to a Windows PC by way of the USB port, but drivers must be installed before the controller will work.

Install using the installation CD:

To install the software using the installation CD that came with your Xbox 360 Controller, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the installation disc in the CD or DVD drive on your computer. If the Setup program doesn’t automatically start, browse to your CD or DVD drive and run the setup program.
  2. On the Setup screen, select Install.
  3. The Xbox 360 Accessories setup program installs the necessary files to your computer.
  4. Note You might be prompted to restart your computer after the installation is complete.

Install by downloading the software:

  1. Go to Xbox 360 Controller for Windows. Select Downloads under the product listing.
  2. Under Software & Drivers, select the version of Windows you’re using (7, Vista, or XP only) and your language from the drop-down lists. For example, if your Region and language setting on your PC is “English (United States),” you’d select English from the list.
  3. Select the link provided for the download under the drop-down lists.
  4. Open the .exe file downloaded from your browser, and then select Yes to approve installation, if asked.
  5. Select Run. The Xbox 360 program installs the necessary files on your computer. You might be prompted to restart the computer when finished.

Step 2: Connect the Xbox 360 wired controller to your computer

After you install the software, plug your controller’s USB connector into a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port on your computer.

Step 3: Test the controller

  1. On your computer, select Start, type Run, type joy.cpl, and then press ENTER.
  2. Select Xbox 360 Controller, and then select Properties.
  3. Test your Xbox 360 wired controller by pressing a button, pulling a trigger, or moving a stick on the controller. If the controller is functioning correctly, you’ll see the corresponding action light up in the application.

    If the application doesn’t recognize your controller, try plugging it into a different USB port, and then test it again. If the application still doesn't recognize it, see Troubleshoot your Xbox 360 controller for Windows.

Set up a wireless controller on a Windows PC

Note A standard Xbox 360 wireless controller can be connected to a Windows PC, but you must have an Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver to play games, even if you have an Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit.

Step 1: Connect the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver to your computer

  1. Remove the green label from the wireless gaming receiver.
  2. Insert the gaming receiver’s USB connector into a powered USB 2.0 port on the computer (on the front or back of your computer).
An illustration of the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver’s USB connector being plugged into a computer’s front USB port.

Note The USB ports on the front of your computer may not be powered USB 2.0 ports. Try using one of the ports on the back of your computer.

A green light on the receiver indicates that the unit is working.

  1. If the Add New Hardware Wizard starts automatically, select Install the software automatically (Recommended), and then select Next. If the wizard installs the software successfully, select Finish and then skip to Step 3: Connect the Xbox 360 wireless controller to your computer, below.

    If the wizard fails to install the software, continue to Step 2.

Step 2: Install the Xbox gaming receiver software

If you have the installation disc that came with your Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver, you can install the software from that disc. If you don’t have the disc, you can install the software by downloading it online.

Install using the installation CD:

  1. Insert the installation disc into the CD or DVD drive of your computer. If the setup program doesn’t automatically start, browse to your CD or DVD drive and run the setup program.
  2. Follow the steps to install the software.

    Note You might be prompted to restart your computer after the installation is complete.

Install by downloading the software:

  1. Go to the Software Downloads section of the Microsoft Hardware website.
  2. In the Search for download field, type "Xbox" and select Gaming as the product type.
  3. Select Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows as the product (this is the software for the wireless gaming receiver).
  4. Select the version of Microsoft Windows you’re using on your computer, select your operating system language, and then select Download.
  5. Select Run.
  6. The Xbox 360 Accessories setup program installs the necessary files to your computer.

    Note You might be prompted to restart your computer after the installation is complete.

Step 3: Connect the Xbox 360 wireless controller to your computer

  1. Turn on the Xbox 360 wireless controller by pressing and holding the Guide button .
  2. On the receiver, press the connect button, which is a circular button located near the middle of the receiver. The light will flash green.
An illustration showing an Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver with an arrow pointing to the connect button.
  1. Press the connect button on the controller, which is a small circular button located on the front edge of the controller as you hold it in your hands.
An illustration of a finger pressing the connect button in an Xbox 360 controller.

Green flashing lights on the controller and on the receiver indicate that the device is trying to establish a connection. When the lights stop flashing, one of the lights around the Guide button will remain lit, indicating that the controller is connected.

An illustration an Xbox 360 wireless controller with one green light lit around the Guide button.

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