Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.
Although a computer 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 an Xbox controller. Games like Fall Guys and Marvel’s Avengers, while playable with a keyboard and mouse, feel at home on an Xbox One controller. Thankfully, connecting an Xbox One controller to your PC is simple.
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 launch of the Xbox Series X, you can snag one.
Here’s how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC so you can play Xbox games on Windows.
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
How to 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.
How to connect your Xbox One controller with a wireless adapter
- Step 1: Purchase the ($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.
How to 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.