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How to Connect an Xbox Controller to a PC

by George Mensah

The Xbox Wireless Gamepad has the name Xbox in it, but it isn’t limited to pairing with a console. The controller is also compatible with Windows 10 and Windows 11, allowing you to use it wirelessly with any compatible PC game. Here’s how to get started with your Xbox gamepad and your PC.

Figure Out Which Xbox Controller You Own

If you recently purchased a new Xbox gamepad, you can skip this section because you already have the most recent version. And if you got one in the last few years, you’re probably good there, too. The current Xbox Wireless Gamepad, which is included with the Xbox Series S/X, supports Xbox wireless communication as well as Bluetooth. Following the initial wave of Xbox One consoles, the majority of Xbox Wireless Gamepads of that generation included Bluetooth. You can proceed from here if you want to use Bluetooth or a wired connection.

The original Xbox One controllers do not have Bluetooth connectivity and instead rely solely on Xbox’s wireless communication standard. This is acceptable for Xbox consoles but not for personal computers. You can still use one with your PC, but the procedure is different; you’ll need to purchase a wireless dongle.

If you have an older Xbox One gamepad, inspect the plastic around the Guide button. A Bluetooth gamepad has the same plastic as the face of the controller and no seams. It’s a non-Bluetooth gamepad if it’s made of the same plastic as the bumper buttons and has a seam between the Guide button and the controller’s face. It’s a current Xbox Series controller with Bluetooth if it has a small, rectangular Capture button between the Menu and View buttons and a USB-C port on the top rather than a micro USB port.

Connect Your Xbox Controller to PC With a Wire

This is straightforward, but you will require a physical cable to connect the controller to your PC. This is how you do it.

Plug one end of your USB-to-micro USB or USB-to-USB-C (depending on the version of controller) cable into the controller.

Plug the other end into your PC

That’s all! It will automatically configure itself under Windows 10 and 11, and it will work with almost any game on your PC.

Connect Your Xbox Controller to PC With Bluetooth

Pairing the Xbox controller with your PC via Bluetooth is nearly identical to pairing it with your Xbox One or Xbox Series console. Hold down the Guide button for three seconds, then the Pairing button for three seconds, until the Guide button flashes. This indicates that it is in pairing mode. Hold the Pairing button on the system while connecting the controller to a console. When connecting the controller to a Windows 10 PC, you must navigate through some menus. If your PC lacks Bluetooth, you will also require a Bluetooth USB dongle. Here’s the complete step-by-step procedure:

Hold the Guide button to turn on the controller.

Hold the Pairing button for three seconds until the Guide button flashes.

Right-click the Bluetooth icon in your system tray.

Click “Add a Bluetooth Device.”

Click “Add Bluetooth or other Device” and select Bluetooth.

Click “Xbox Wireless Controller.” Wait until the Guide button is solid white, and the Bluetooth menu says the controller is connected.

The Xbox Wireless Gamepad can now be used with your PC to play the vast majority of modern games that support controllers. However, unlike Sony’s DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers, the gamepad does not have a headset jack. Although a wired gaming headset can be used with the gamepad and its associated game system, audio is not transmitted through the jack when it is connected to a PC via Bluetooth.

Connect Your Xbox Controller to PC With a USB Adapter

You’ll need an Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10 if you have an older Xbox One controller or simply want to use your newer one with Microsoft’s proprietary wireless connection instead of Bluetooth (and get headset connectivity). It’s a USB dongle that connects directly to your Xbox gamepad without the need for any Bluetooth setup or pairing. Simply plug in the dongle and pair it to your controller as you would your Xbox, pressing the Pairing button on each device.

Unfortunately, this adapter is no longer available. You can still find it online for $40 to $75, rather than the original $25, but good luck finding it. If you can get your hands on one, it will allow you to use up to eight gamepads with the adapter, whereas Microsoft recommends only one at a time with Bluetooth. If you use the adapter, the headset jack is also enabled, with adjustable settings in the Xbox app.

How to Connect Other Game Controllers to PC

We also have instructions for connecting your Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4/5 controllers to your PC. Check out our guide on how to choose the right controller for your PC for more controller advice.


Check out our favorite PC games once you’re ready to start playing. If you’re a PlayStation fan, learn how to use a DualShock 4 controller on a PC. We will walk you through the surprisingly difficult process.

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