How to connect an Xbox Wireless Controller to a Windows PC

Many PC games let you play with an Xbox Wireless Controller instead of a keyboard or mouse. Connect your controller to a Windows PC by using a USB cable, the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows, or over Bluetooth. Some PCs also come with Xbox Wireless built in so you can connect a controller directly without an adapter.

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Connect a controller to a Windows 10 PC

Option 1: USB

Plug a micro-USB charging cable into the top of the controller and plug the other end into your PC.

Note The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and Xbox Adaptive Controller use a USB-C cable for wired connections and charging.

Xbox Wireless Controller connecting to PC via USB cable

With USB connections, you can connect 8 Xbox Wireless Controllers at the same time, or 4 controllers that have Xbox Chat Headsets attached. If the controllers have Xbox Stereo Headsets, only 2 can be connected at the same time.

Option 2: Xbox Wireless

To connect with Xbox Wireless, you might need the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10. If your PC has Xbox Wireless built in, you can connect the controller directly without an adapter.

If you’re using the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10:

  1. Turn on your PC and sign in.
  2. Plug the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows into your PC. For more info, see Set up the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows.
  3. Turn on your controller by pressing the Xbox button . When you turn on the controller, the Xbox button will start flashing.
  4. Press and hold the Bind button on the Xbox Wireless Adapter. A small light will flash for several seconds.
  5. Press and hold the Bind button on the top of the controller (the raised button). The Xbox button on the controller will flash more rapidly—this means your controller is searching for the Xbox Wireless Adapter. When connected, the Xbox button on the controller will stay lit.

If you’re using built-in Xbox Wireless:

  1. Turn on your PC and sign in.
  2. Turn on your controller by pressing the Xbox button for three seconds. When you turn on the controller, the Xbox button will start flashing.
  3. Press and hold the Bind button on the top of the controller (the raised button). The Xbox button on the controller will flash more rapidly—this means your controller is searching for a PC.
  4. On your PC, press the Start button , then select Settings > Devices.
  5. Choose Add Bluetooth or other device, then select Everything else.
  6. Choose Xbox Wireless Controller or Xbox Elite Wireless Controller from the list. When connected, the Xbox button on the controller will stay lit.

With Xbox Wireless connections, you can connect 8 Xbox Wireless Controllers at the same time, or 4 controllers that have Xbox Chat Headsets attached. If the controllers have Xbox Stereo Headsets, only 2 can be connected at the same time.

To ensure you have the latest firmware for your controller and headset, see Update your Xbox Wireless Controller.

Notes

  • The Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows may not be available in all markets.
  • When Airplane mode is on, the Xbox Accessories Radio is turned off by default. You will need to turn it back on if you want to use this function while in Airplane mode.

Option 3: Bluetooth

Xbox Wireless Controllers may support connecting to your PC via Bluetooth. Your controller has this feature if it looks like the one on bottom in this illustration:

Xbox Wireless Controllers: Bluetooth versus no Bluetooth

On Bluetooth-supported controllers, the plastic around the Xbox button is part of the face of the controller. On controllers without Bluetooth, the plastic around the Xbox button is part of the top, where the bumpers are.

Notes

  • Bluetooth requires a PC running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. See Windows Update: FAQ to learn how to get the latest Windows update.
  • For the best performance, update your controller.
  • To configure your Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 in the Xbox Accessories app, get the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (or later) with the latest fixes. See Windows Update: FAQ to learn how to get the latest Windows update.
  • Bluetooth is supported on PCs, tablets, and laptops. It is not supported on mobile devices.
  • Bluetooth doesn’t support attachments such as headsets, chatpads, or the Xbox Stereo Adapter.
  • We recommend connecting only one controller at a time using Bluetooth.

To pair an Xbox Wireless Controller to your PC via Bluetooth:

  1. Turn on your Xbox Wireless Controller by pressing the Xbox button .
  2. Press and hold the Bind button on your controller for three seconds (the Xbox button will start flashing rapidly).
Bind button on Xbox Wireless Controller
  1. On your PC, press the Start button , then choose Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.
  2. Turn on Bluetooth.
  3. Select Add Bluetooth or other device > Bluetooth. Your PC will begin searching for your controller.
  4. Select Xbox Wireless Controller or Xbox Elite Wireless Controller > Done.

For help with Bluetooth, see Connect and troubleshoot Bluetooth on your Xbox One Wireless Controller.

Connect a controller to a Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 PC

When you connect an Xbox Wireless Controller to your Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 PC with a micro-USB cable, Windows will automatically download and install the drivers for the controller. If Windows is not set to automatically download device software, you can check for updates through Device Manager.

Update drivers through Device Manager

Here’s how to check for updates manually in the Device Manager:

  1. Point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then select Search.
  2. Enter Device Manager in the search box, and then select Device Manager.
    Note Windows may ask you for an administrator password or to confirm your choice.
  3. Locate and expand Microsoft Xbox One Controller.
  4. Right-click the expanded Microsoft Xbox One Controller and select Update Driver Software.
  5. Select Search Automatically for Updated Software.

With Xbox Wireless or USB connections, you can connect 4 Xbox Wireless Controllers at the same time. You won’t get audio through the controller so there’s no need to connect a headset. Bluetooth connections are not supported.

Notes

  • If the controller doesn't respond, try a different micro-USB cable.
  • To use your Xbox Wireless Controller with your console after using it with a PC, you must re-sync the controller to the console. You can do this by using the wireless sync button or a USB cable. For details, see Connect a wireless Xbox One controller to your console.
  • This information applies only to Xbox One Wireless Controllers. 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.

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