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How to connect an Xbox controller to PC

If you're sick of mouse and keyboard and you want to go back to basics, here's how to connect any Xbox controller to your PC without hassle

How to connect Xbox controller to PC: A green controller sits on a keyboard

While the graphical capabilities of gaming computers are generally seen as far superior to consoles these days, getting to grips with a keyboard and mouse, especially for the best competitive FPS games, can be fairly tricky. Going back to basics and playing with a controller can sometimes feel like your only option – but it’s not always clear how to connect an Xbox controller to PC.

Fortunately for you, we’re here to help. Xbox controllers come in all shapes and sizes and while the latest iterations are technically wireless, you still have to do a bit of a magic in order to get it talking with your gaming PC.

So if you’re looking for the scoop on how to connect an Xbox controller to PC, read on. Here’s everything you know about linking your controller up so you can grind the Rocket League ranks in peace.

You can connect almost any Xbox controller to PC these days, but the one you’re most likely to have is the Xbox Wireless Gamepad – you know, the one that comes with the Xbox Series X|S. These controllers can be hooked up wirelessly via Bluetooth or by wired connection.

The Xbox One S controllers are the same, but the original Xbox One controllers are not. You’ll only be able to link this up to your PC via a cable.

How to connect an Xbox controller to PC with Bluetooth

If you’ve got one of the fancy new controllers, then synching your controller up to your PC is really quite easy. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Hold down the Xbox button to turn on the controller
  • Hold the pairing button down for three seconds until the Xbox button flashes
  • Right-click the Bluetooth icon in your system tray on PC
  • Click ‘Add a Bluetooth device’
  • ‘Click Add Bluetothh or other Device’ and hit Bluetooth
  • Select ‘Xbox Wireless Controller’

When your Xbox button turns a solid white, your controller is connected.

You can also use the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10 to avoid the steps below – it’s a USB dongle that you plug into your PC and pair to your controller. You can connect up to eight controllers using this dongle and it’ll allow you to use the headphone jack too.

How to connect your Xbox controller to PC using a cable

If you’re using an older model – or you don’t want to fiddle around with your Bluetooth settings – you can hook your controller up to your PC using a cable. For this, you’re going to need a micro-USB or USB-C cable (depending on what controller you’re using).

Hook one end into the controller and the other into the PC and your computer should recognise the controller. Once that’s done, you’re good to start gaming.

So there you have it, a guide to connecting an Xbox controller to PC. While you’re getting to grips with the process, make sure to check out our list to the best Game Pass games you can play right now.