How to Connect an Xbox One Controller to Your PC

If you’re a gamer, one system probably isn’t enough for you. But with great systems come great clutter, to paraphrase the uncle of a certain Spider-guy. To simplify things, you may be wondering how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC.

Maybe you are thinking about joining the “PC Master Race” but don’t want to commit fully. Maybe you just want to add a little bit of spice to your gaming life. Perhaps you just don’t like mouse-and-keyboard gaming. Or, of course, you might not want to let the roughly $150 you spent on an Elite controller go to waste.

Whatever your reason for wondering how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC, you’ll be happy to know it’s very easy.

The Basics of How to Connect an Xbox One Controller to Your PC

Ready to figure out how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC? You have a few options when considering how to do it: wired, Bluetooth, and via a wireless adapter. Either way you choose, you’ll find it easier than your first playthrough of Dark Souls on NG+6 difficulty.

Especially if you’re more of a mouse-and-keyboard player who wants options, you’ll be glad to know that connecting your Xbox One controller to a PC is not only easy but cheap (or free).

You can connect up to eight Xbox controllers at the same time. But if you are using headsets that number can be as low as four or even two, depending on which you choose. If you are using Xbox Chat headsets, you can use up to four. If you are using Xbox stereo headsets, that number drops to two. With no headsets, you can use up to eight.

Before You Get Started

Before you try to figure out how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC, be sure to update your firmware for both your headset and controller. While this may or may not actually be necessary, it’s better to get it out of the way just in case.

Wireless with Adapter

Many if not most PC games allow you to use an Xbox One controller instead of your mouse and keyboard. So whether you just picked up a copy of Fallout 76 or you are addicted to Steam, you don’t need to give up your precious controller to enjoy playing on the PC.

Your first option here is grabbing a wireless adapter to convert your Xbox One controller to a PC controller. You can pick one up on Amazon for around $20 to $30 — far below the cost of buying a new controller for your PC.

The steps for how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC are pretty straightforward no matter if you are using an Elite or a regular controller or anything in between. Since you’re connecting wirelessly, you won’t have to worry about batting away a cord while you’re trying to nail headshots.

The Steps

First, insert your Xbox One wireless adapter into any USB 2.0 or 3.0 port on your PC. Now go grab a sandwich. Installation happens automatically, and drivers are built into Windows already. Isn’t the future great? One word of caution, though: if your USB port doesn’t face your controller or is blocked by metallic options, you’ll want to use the included USB extender to avoid interference.

The next part is something with which you should be familiar since you’ve used an Xbox controller before. Like when you are connecting your controller to your Xbox, press the connection button. Instead of the one on your system, press the one on the adapter. Then simply power on the controller and press the Connect button. The controller LED will blink to indicate that the connection process is happening. Once the connection is complete, the LED lights on the adapter and controller will become solid.

Wireless Without an Adapter

Some Windows PCs come with Xbox wireless built-in. This simplifies the wireless connection process because you don’t need to spend part of your gaming budget on an adapter. The best part is that you’ll have it done faster than Bethesda bans players for illegally accessing Fallout 76’s developer room.

usb cord

How to do it

On your PC, go to Settings, then select Devices. Next, Click “Add Bluetooth or other device.” After that, select “Everything else” and “Xbox Wireless Controller.” Click “Done.”

As with any other connection, the light on the controller will go solid once the connection finishes.

Bluetooth

If your controller supports Bluetooth, this gives you another convenient connection option for how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC that doesn’t involve a wire. You can tell if it has this feature by observing the plastic around the Xbox button. If the plastic is part of the face of the controller rather than part of the top where the bumpers are, congratulations — your controller supports Bluetooth! You’ll also need the Anniversary Update of Windows 10.

This is perhaps the easiest method of connecting your controller to your PC. Simply hold the controller Connect button for three seconds and release. In seconds, the light on your controller will turn solid.

xbox controller

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Wire

A simple yet annoying solution for how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC is to use a wire. This works if you can’t connect wirelessly or if playing video games in the desk chair equivalent of the jungle somehow adds realism to your experience.

If you have an Elite controller, it came with a slightly less annoying than normal tangle-free cord. Otherwise, you can snag one on Amazon for less than $10. Plug the smaller end into the back of your controller and the USB end into your PC. Voila! You may now awkwardly navigate around the cord as you play your favorite games.

While you’ll find many obvious downsides to using a wired controller, if you’re a hardcore gamer it will save you potentially thousands a year on batteries. Plus, a wired connection can give you a slightly better response time than wireless. Unfortunately, you’ll have to be wary of wire position when adjusting yourself in your seat. Otherwise, your foot may yank our your USB connection and you’ll wind up a “free kill.”

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using an Xbox Controller on Your PC

Now that you know how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC, you need to decide if you want to. This can give you familiarity between systems if you frequently migrate from your Xbox to your PC. If you are playing a game with few “keybindings,” an Xbox Elite controller can be a wonderful tool for a PC game. Also, many games have built-in aim assist if you’re using a controller. This compensates for the loss of precision that comes with using a controller.

But as we hinted, using a mouse and keyboard gives you greater precision and more keybinding options — especially if your mouse is something like the Razer Naga Chroma, which has multiple rows of numbered buttons on the side. If you like having more options and better control when lining up headshots, you’ll probably want to stick to a mouse and keyboard rather than figure out how to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC.

But if you’re good at a game on your Xbox, why mess with something that works? Knowing how to connect your Xbox controller to a PC is helpful for exactly this scenario. Games like Overwatch are available on numerous platforms. So uniformity when you hop on the computer to play with a friend who doesn’t have an Xbox helps.

No matter how you play your games, though, the most important thing is that you have fun!

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