Xbox One Controller

It's easier than ever to use a controller with your PC. Here's everything you need to know.

Once upon a time, Microsoft didn't support its own controllers on its own PC platform. You needed hacked drivers and workarounds to use the excellent Xbox One controller with PC games.

That's no longer the case, with official drivers built right into Windows 10. So, while it's easy to do, there's more to it than just plugging it in.

Using a micro USB cable

Xbox One controller

By far the simplest way to use an Xbox One controller is to use a micro USB cable. Attach to the connector on your controller and any free USB port on your PC, and it'll automatically recognize it's there and you're good to go.

Any decent cable will do the trick, even the one that you use to charge your phone.

But what if I don't have a standard USB port?

micro USB adapter

It's not just desktop PCs that you can use an Xbox One controller with. It's perfectly possible to use it with a tablet too since it's a Windows 10 device. Even a small, cheap tablet will recognize the controller, though unlike a PC you may need to make sure it has batteries inside to turn it on and power it.

To connect to a tablet without a standard USB port, you just need an adapter. Either a micro USB to USB or USB-C to USB will do the trick depending on which tablet you have with which connector. Plug the adapter into the tablet and the cable from the controller into the USB end of the adapter.

The wireless dongle

Xbox Wireless Adapter

The much smaller, redesigned Xbox Wireless Adapter.

Microsoft also has an official wireless dongle for Windows PCs that allows you to go wire free. The first-generation controller and the Xbox Elite controller don't support Bluetooth, so to go wireless on your PC you'll need the dongle.

It isn't expensive at $24, and recently Microsoft announced a redesigned model that is much smaller. This isn't on sale at the time of writing but hopefully will be soon.

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Bluetooth

Xbox One Controller

The new generation Xbox One controller from Microsoft, that is the one sold with the Xbox One S and since on its own, supports Bluetooth. That means you can connect it to any Windows PC, laptop or tablet that has Bluetooth built in.

  1. Open settings on your PC.
  2. Go to devices.
  3. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on.
  4. Turn on the controller by pressing the large round X button.
  5. Click on the controller in your discovered devices to pair.

This is particularly handy if you're taking a controller on the road with you and your laptop. One less cable to pack!

If you don't have one of these controllers yet, they're available now in multiple colors, and prices start around $40.

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Xbox Accessories app

Xbox Accessories app

This is particularly handy if you're using an Xbox Elite Controller, as the Xbox Accessories app allows you to customize the buttons and paddles to a layout of your choice.

It's in the Windows Store to download to your PC, all you need to do is connect the controller to the PC to get started!

Download Xbox Accessories from the Windows Store

Wrapping up

It's now not only easy to use your Xbox One controller with a Windows 10 PC, but it's flexible, too. Thanks to the breadth of the Windows hardware ecosystem and the different options for actually connecting and using a controller, there's a solution that should fit all needs.

More: The best Xbox One controllers