Windows 10 Tip: Use an Xbox One Controller

Posted on August 18, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10, Xbox, Xbox One with 0 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Use an Xbox One Controller

With Microsoft evolving its Xbox gaming platform to include Windows 10, our game play options are about to explode. So Xbox fans will want to configure an Xbox One controller on their Windows PCs as well.

There are three ways to connect an Xbox One controller to your Windows 10 PC. These are:

Using a USB cable. If you don’t mind being tethered, you can physically tether any Xbox One controller to your Windows PC using a standard micro-USB cable.

Using an Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows. Microsoft sells a curiously large Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows for about $20 that lets you wirelessly connect any Xbox One controller to your Windows PC. (Some future PCs will include this adapter, and in 2017 and beyond we’ll see this circuitry built directly into some PC motherboards as well.)

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Using Bluetooth. For those with the latest Xbox controller—the one that is also included with the Xbox One S, called the Xbox Wireless Controller—its possible to connect over Bluetooth too. This is a nice option because it doesn’t take up a USB port, as do the other two methods noted above.

The new Xbox Wireless Controller supports both Bluetooth and the proprietary Xbox Wireless technologies.

The new Xbox Wireless Controller supports both Bluetooth and the proprietary Xbox Wireless technologies.

If you’re making the connection wirelessly—that is, you’re using an Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows or, with the new Xbox Wireless Controller, Bluetooth—you will need to pair the controller to your PC. (And no, Xbox One S owners, you cannot pair your controller to your console and your PC at the same time, sorry.)

For the Xbox Wireless Controller/Bluetooth, you do this by opening Settings in Windows 10 and navigating to Devices, Bluetooth. Then, press the wireless enrollment button (yes, that’s what it’s called) on the top edge of the controller, near the USB port, so that the Xbox button light blinks rapidly. When the controller appears in Bluetooth settings, select it and choose Pair.

bluetooth

For the Xbox Wireless Adapter, plug the adapter into a free USB port on your PC. Then, navigate to Settings, Devices, Connected Devices on Windows 10, and you’ll notice that Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows is in the list of connected devices. Now, press the wireless enrollment button on both the controller and the adapter until the light on each is blinking. You’ll see that the Xbox controller appears in the list of connected devices too.

connected-adapter

However you make the connection, you can further configure the controller using the legacy Game Controllers control panel in Windows 10 if you’d like. (Use Start Search, type game, and choose Set up USB game controllers to quickly find it.) Truth be told, there’s not much you can do here these days beyond testing the controller buttons.

And that’s the nice thing about using an Xbox controller with Windows: It just works. If you boot up any modern game, the controller will just be available and will work immediately.

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