Tutorial: How to Connect the Xbox 360 Controller to Windows

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Before start this tutorial, we would like to emphasize that the following instructions are for those who have a Xbox 360 wireless controller and would like to connect it to PC (should work on 7, Windows XP and Vista) to play your favorite games. It would be good if you read our Xbox 360 wireless receiver review, where you will know more about the Xbox wireless receiver before reading this tutorial.

Case you still do not have a Xbox 360 wireless receiver for Windows, you can buy it on Chinabuye for about $10 (also includes the driver CD for Windows 32/64 bits).

What are the requirements?

The following are the requirements that must be satisfied before proceeding on the tutorial:

  • You must have at least one Xbox 360 wireless controller.
  • You must have one Xbox 360 wireless receiver for Windows.
  • Your PC must have one USB 2.0 port ready to be used.
  • You must have the Xbox 360 wireless receiver driver for Windows (as mentioned early, they are included in the driver CD).

Note that we made this tutorial using Windows 7 (you will see Windows 7 images), but it is similar to Windows XP or Vista. Any doubt, use the comments.

Plugging the Xbox 360 wireless receiver for the first time

When plugging the Xbox 360 wireless receiver in a USB 2.0 port of your PC for the first time, Windows will try to install automatically the required driver for the device. It will probably fails on finding locally or on the Internet (see image 1), so you will have to point the Xbox wireless receiver driver manually.

windows fails finding xbox 360 controller receiver driver
Image 1: Windows fails on finding a Xbox wireless receiver driver

To install manually the receiver driver, follow these steps:

Step 1: After Windows fails in finding the proper driver, right click "Computer" and click on "Properties".

Step 2: Click on the option "Device Manager" (top-left).
For Windows XP, click on the "Hardware" tab and then click on the button "Device Manager".

Step 3: Under "Device Manager", and presuming that others devices on your PC are installed correctly, you will see on the list that only one item is not recognized (see image below). Right click on that item and then click on "Update Driver Software...".

windows device manager right click
Image 2: Right click on the unrecognized item

Step 4: Windows will ask how to search for the driver. Click on "Browse my computer for driver software" so you can point where are the drivers (see image below).

windows asks how to search the driver
Image 3: Windows asks how to search the receiver driver

Step 5: Now, click on the button "Browse" and choose the folder "USB Driver" located in the root of the driver CD (see image below). Then, click "Next". Windows will try to find proper drivers for your system (Windows version and 32/64 bits).

windows where to look for the driver
Image 4: Where are the drivers?

Step 6: After finding a driver, Windows will recheck if you really want to install that driver. It does that for security reason that we are not cover in this tutorial, but these are the drivers, so click on "Install this driver software anyway" to proceed (see image below).

windows check install driver
Image 5: Confirm you want to install this driver

Step 7: After that, Windows will successfully install the Xbox 360 wireless receiver driver, so you are ready to play (see image below).

xbox wireless receiver driver installed
Image 6: Xbox wireless receiver driver installed

How to connect the Xbox 360 wireless controller to PC (Windows)

Now that the Xbox 360 wireless receiver for Windows is installed and plugged, your next step is connect your wireless controller to the receiver. For that, do the following:

Step 1: Turn on the Xbox 360 controller (press and hold that GUIDE button in the center).

Step 2: Press and hold the button on the receiver (its light will start blinking).

Step 3: Press and hold the connect button on the top of the Xbox 360 controller.

Step 4: Wait until the lights (controller and receiver) stay on - that means both are connected.

If you want to use more than one wireless controller, just repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 for each wireless controller.

To confirm if the wireless controller(s) is working properly, there is the "Game Controllers" option. You can access it by typing "joystick" on the start menu (Windows will find some options) and then clicking on the "Set up USB game controllers". There, you will be able to see if the left stick, right stick, d-pad and buttons are working properly and also how many wireless controllers were recognized (see image 7).

windows joystick panel
Image 7: Test your joysticks here

Just to improve the understanding, watch the video below showing how to connect the Xbox 360 controller to Windows 7 to play a Steam game (Renegade Ops).

Any question or suggestion, please use the comments section below.

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