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How to Turn an Xbox Controller Into a PC Gamepad

Updated on March 7, 2013

There are plenty of games on the PC that are better suited for users who are playing with a gamepad instead of the standard mouse and keyboard combo. PC controllers can be expensive and there compatibility might be limited depending on which games you're using. The good news, though, is that it's super easy to turn an Xbox 360 controller into a PC gamepad!

In fact, 360 controllers are specifically designed to be used with the PC. It makes since, since Microsoft designed the both pieces of hardware. Although other companies are manufacturing PC controllers, the 360 gamepad is often the preferred accessory for PC gaming!

Using A Wired Xbox 360 Controller with the PC

The simplest way to use a Xbox 360 gamepad with the PC is to purchase a wired 360 controller. Simply connect the USB plug to your PC and the plug and play technology should do the rest! The 360 gamepad doesn't necessarily work with every game, however. Be sure to check that your game is compatible with a controller before trying to use one! Oftentimes it is as simple as going into the option menu and remapping the buttons to fit your 360 Controllers layout but some games simply won't work at all.

You can find the standard wired controllers easily on popular sales sites like Amazon and eBay.

Using a Wireless 360 Controller With A PC

For many gamers, the default 360 controller is the wireless gamepad. Although both the USB and wireless products are easily available, most new Xbox 360 consoles bundles come with the wireless. With no USB cable, how can you use your 360 controller to play on the computer?

Well, the good news is you can indeed use your wireless Xbox controller on the PC. All you need is a Xbox 360 wireless receiver! Buy the receiver online, plug it into a free USB slot, install the software and your wireless controller can work as usual on your PC.

To get the best performance out of your 360 wireless receiver, be sure to buy first part from Microsoft. Third party companies are usually just as good but can occasionally have compatibility problems, especially with newer hardware. The adapter is usually under twenty dollars and is much cheaper than buying a new gamepad just to use with the PC.

Using a 360 Controller on Macs

Also, a brief note for Mac users: you should be able to hook up your 360 controller to your Mac desktop or laptop using the same steps as above. Compatibility is often limited, however, especially on older Macs. Consider trying this driver for better performance. Caveat emptor, however: as with any unofficial driver, you will not be receiving support from Apple OR Microsoft and there's no guarantee it might not conflict with one of your other already existing drivers.

It's just that simple to hook your Xbox 360 up to your PC! If you have any questions or comments about how to get your controller to work, leave a note in the comments and I'll try and give you a hand.

Looking for more great tools for playing your favorite games? Check out this buyer's guide for top of the line gaming keyboard right here.


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    • JulesDota profile image

      Borko Velinov 5 years ago from Nis , Sebia

      Good one ! +

    • Bazmak profile image

      Bazmak 5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Len, guess I better snag an adapter!

    • Len Cannon profile image

      Len Cannon 5 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Unfortunately, no, the standard 360 controller does not use Bluetooth. I believe the PS3 controller uses Bluetooth but that's also much, much harder to get to work on a PC.

    • Bazmak profile image

      Bazmak 5 years ago from Michigan

      Is using bluetooth possible for wifi controllers?