How to use Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers for Windows 10 PC gaming

With my Nintendo Switch now[acting as my mobile entertainment device when not at my main gaming rig, I wanted to see just how easy it was to connect the Joy-Cons to a Windows 10 PC, in case I wanted to brush up on my skill with the unique gamepads. Interestingly, since the Joy-Cons use Bluetooth, it was a painless pairing experience and worked as just expected.

How the Nintendo Switch fits perfectly in this PC gamer's life

How to connect Nintendo Joy-Cons to a Windows PC

Before you pair the Joy-Cons with Windows 10, you need to do a few preparation steps. Here goes:

  1. Install the vJoy driver.
  2. Grab this feeder driver, managed by mfosse.
  3. Per mfoss, you need to configure vJoy input devices to the following:

vJoy

vJoy

  1. Run the joycon-driver.exe in the Github download, which will allow vJoy to detect the Joy-Cons once paired.

Next, you need to pair the Joy-Cons.

Windows and Joy-Cons, a perfect pair

It's super-easy to connect the Joy-Cons to Windows 10. First, you need to activate the pairing on the Switch Joy-Cons — the button is located between the two shoulder buttons. You'll need to pair each controller separately. Follow these steps:

  1. Hit the Windows Key + Q to bring up the search.
  2. Type in "Bluetooth."
  3. Click on Bluetooth and other device settings.
  4. Click on Add Bluetooth or other device.
  5. Click on Bluetooth.
  6. Choose the Joy-Con (L) and (R). (You'll need to run the wizard for each Joy-Con.)

vJoy should be able to detect and automatically configure the controllers as per instructed by the driver you added. You can also set the suite to combine the Joy-Cons into a single controller and then double-check that everything is working using the built-in monitor tool.

Gaming with two gamepads

Nintendo Joy-Cons

I'm a fan of the Switch, as can be discovered in my piece on using the handheld as a PC gamer, and I also like the controllers. The Joy-Cons aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoy using them. Using them on PC is a pleasant experience, as long as you steer clear of competitive games like Call of Duty or Destiny and stick to your Stardews and other similar titles.

Having both Joy-Cons in the controller dock is as good as using them separately, should you grow accustomed to the setup. They're not as good as the Xbox One gamepad, mind you. But they're handy for having a multiplayer session on a single PC.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

8 Comments
  • I've used the Joy-cons... Would prefer a Xbox one, or PS4 controller.... All you need to plug them into a windows PC...
  • My first thought to this title was "Why?".
  • So looks like this is finally working. I tried back when the joy-cons were first out and pairing to Windows worked, but actually using them to game was a pain. And I'd have a lot of disconnects w/ bluetooth because it wasn't completely recognized.  Saving this for later, though I agree that just plugging in an XBox controller is far easier and pretty widely recognized.
  • Well this is great to know now i have a back up to use the joy cons when i dont want to use my Xbox controller or Logitech pc controller
  • Honestly even on Switch I would prefer another controller so on PC don't waste your time and buy a 20$ controller it won't be worst than Joy-cons.
  • What I really want to see is for Microsoft to offer Snap-On Xbox Gamepad halves to their Andromeda devices to turn these into the ultimate Xbox One streaming and portable UWP gaming handhelds.
  • Awesome and handy guide, bookmarked!
  • I like Joy-Con's HD rumble and snapshot button, but there's no way these features would be supported on PC (maybe snapshot button could be possible on Win 10, but unless it works exactly same as how it works on Switch, it would still be useless). Any other part of the controller is not as good as Xbox One controller, and the price is way higher.