How to use an Xbox One controller with your PC

Many old school gamers remember the times when Microsoft didn’t have any Xbox controller support on their Windows platform. It was possible to make them work on a PC, but it required patience, hacked drivers, and additional software. Not everyone was willing to waste their time on workarounds.

Today it is not a problem because Microsoft integrated official drivers into Windows. Still, it takes a little bit more than just connecting an Xbox One controller to your PC.

Using a micro USB cable

The easiest way to connect the controller would be to use a micro USB cable. You just need a free USB port. When you have attached the controller, Windows will automatically recognize a new device, and you will be able to use it. There is no need to buy a fancy micro USB cable – any cable will work just fine, even the one you are using for charging your smartphone. Just be sure that it has enough length for comfortable play.

What if all USB ports are already in use or I don’t have them at all?

In the first scenario, you may want to use a USB-hub – it would be the easiest solution. And if you want to connect your Xbox One controller to a Windows 10 tablet, for example, then you will need an adapter. Even the cheapest tablet can recognize the controller. But those are often very limited on ports. Nevertheless, you can use a micro USB to USB adapter or USB-C to USB as these are the most popular port choice on modern devices. Plug the adapter into the device, then connect the controller cable to the USB port on the adapter.

Alternative #1: use a wireless dongle

Microsoft sells official wireless dongles for Windows-based computers. These are compact, redesigned wireless adapters developed for Xbox. The very first controllers, as well as the Xbox Elite controllers, lacked Bluetooth support. So, for wireless connection to your computer, you will need to get the dongle. It is not very expensive – the recommended price is about $24. A new model is also available now – it is more compact, but also more pricey.

Alternative #2: get a Bluetooth controller

New Xbox One controllers (designed for the Xbox One S) support Bluetooth. Originally, they were bundled with the new console only, but now available on their own. You can connect this controller to any tablet, computer, or laptop with a Bluetooth module. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Go to computer settings.
  2. Open Devices.
  3. Turn Bluetooth on if it not active.
  4. Press the huge X button to turn on your controller.
  5. Find the controller on the list of discovered devices and pair it with your computer.

This is the best solution for gamers that travel a lot and want to have their favorite controller to play games on tablets or laptops. It is compact and has no cables. You can buy a new Bluetooth controller for $40 or so.

Bonus: Xbox Accessories app

This information will be useful for all Xbox Elite controller owners. The Xbox Accessories app is a great tool that lets users customize all the buttons on the controller to create personal layouts. You can get the app from the Windows Store. Connect your controller to the computer and check it out!

To sum it all up

Today it is much easier to use an Xbox One controller in pair with your Windows 10 PC. It requires additional gadgets or cables but, yes, but at least all required software (drivers) are already installed in Windows 10.