How to Connect a Game Controller to Your PC

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  • Parts and Equipment Required
  • Connecting a controller to your PC

The gaming world was once divided into two main camps, console gamers and PC gamers. The lines are blurred these days, with many games available on both platforms, as well as games on Android and macOS, and those gamers are at a disadvantage when it comes to devices. A keyboard is a poor substitute for a gamepad, and unless a game is designed specifically for PC, it often doesn’t work as well with a keyboard.

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Luckily, the console folks got it, with an added nod to the Xbox folks, who have a direct connection to the PC hardware world and therefore a nice advantage over other names like Sony. There are plenty of options to choose from, and while most console controllers have a similar design, they come in multiple colors and styles to perfectly match the gamer’s chosen system for gaming.

Parts and Equipment Required

It depends on the exact brand of controller and where it’s located, but PC game controllers often require a USB charging cable, batteries, and other hardware items that aren’t included in the purchase initial. Wired controllers obviously won’t need batteries, but they do need a USB port to work, which is important to keep in mind for Android users, as phones and tablets are often designed without USB ports.


The computer’s operating system is an important factor when choosing a controller. Make sure the controller is compatible with the correct version of the computer’s operating system. For example, a controller designed for Windows 10 will not work on Windows 11 and make sure a controller is specifically designed to work with your version of MacOs.

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Connecting a controller to your PC

Bluetooth

A controller is more common with phones and laptops, since desktop computers don’t have Bluetooth software as often as their portable counterparts. It’s easy to get a little USB device to make any PC Bluetooth compatible anyway, but it’s something to remember when buying a controller that’s a good fit for a personal computer.

  • Energy source. These types of controllers will need batteries or a charge before they can be turned on and connected to another device.
  • Twinning. Make sure the device is powered on and the controller and computer are also in pairing mode. The device should report when successfully paired with the controller.
  • Configuration. Players may be prompted to do this automatically, but in all cases software must be available to configure the controller to the user’s personal settings.


Wired

  • Link. Often the cheapest and most convenient option, these types of controllers are often plugged into and played through a computer’s USB port.
  • Software. A disadvantage is that they often require the installation of a separate driver. On the other hand, some operating systems can automatically find and download missing drivers or software, so that’s no problem.
  • Configuration. If a wired controller doesn’t come with configuration software, it automatically adapts to individual games or can use the gamepad software in Device Manager to make changes.

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Update your controller

Like all peripherals these days, controllers often need to be updated with the latest software. Not updating a controller can lead to compatibility and sensitivity issues, a nightmare for any gamer.

Wired controllers can update automatically or manually using the Device Manager, but Bluetooth controllers must be connected to a computer to download software updates. The software used to set up a Bluetooth controller is the same that organizes updates. When the controller is plugged in it will automatically check for updates, but there should also be an option to check manually.


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