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How to use the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on a PC

Use the PlayStation 4 controller in Windows

connect a PS4 controller to PC

Did you know that you can use the PS4 DualShock 4 controller with a PC? Whether you're new to PC gaming or you've never used a controller to play PC games before, you'll quickly realize the benefits of using a PlayStation 4 controller when playing on your gaming PC.

There are many benefits to using a PS4 DualShock 4 controller. It's more intuitive than using a keyboard and mouse, but depending on the keyboard that you have, there’s also less possibility of pressing the wrong keys.

Because a PS4 controller’s design includes all the buttons that most controller-based PC titles require, it’s also easy to switch over to the controller without having to think about it while gaming. What's more, you can lean back and relax while playing as it isn’t a peripheral you’d need to anchor to your desk. 

Even the most devote of PC purists can't deny a controller's usefulness, especially when it comes to games that require quick responses and fast movements. 

Since figuring out how to connect a PS4 DualShock 4 controller to PC is a pain-free process – you just need the controller itself, a Windows or Mac PC, and an available USB port (or your computer’s Bluetooth or a Sony PlayStation 4 DualShock USB Wireless Adaptor dongle, if you prefer to go wireless). Let us show you how it's done.

Note that a controller's audio jack isn't currently supported, so you’ll have to either plug your headphones directly into your PC or use a pair of wireless headphones.

How to use the PS4 DualShock controller in Steam

Steam, the popular storefront and game launcher, released an update that allows you to use the PS4 DualShock controller on your PC when running the application.

It's easy for you to plug in the Dualshock 4 controller and control your PC games. You can control the TV-friendly Big Picture Mode of Steam using the DualShock 4, and your games will now display PS4 button prompts in-game.

To use the PS4 DualShock controller on your PC in Steam, load up Steam and check for updates, then once the latest update has installed, plug in your DualShock 4 (or connect via Bluetooth) and you'll be good to go!

Unfortunately, this solution doesn’t work very well for everyone, so to find out how to use a PS4 DualShock controller on your PC without using Steam, read on below.

How to use the PS4 controller on PC

How to use the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on PC

DS4Windows lets you configure your DualShock 4 on PC

1. Download DS4Windows

While using the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on your PC is pretty simple, it's not quite plug-and-play, as you'll need to install an additional piece of software to get it working on your PC.

The software is called DS4Windows, and it makes connecting the PS4 controller to your PC incredibly simple. It basically fools your PC into thinking the connected DualShock 4 is an Xbox 360 controller, which is supported in Windows.

To get it from the DS4Windows website just download the latest build from the GitHub page.

How to use the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on PC

DS4Windows running in Windows 10

2. Install DS4Windows

Locate the downloaded Zip file, right-click on it and select 'Extract All…'

A window will appear asking you where you want to extract the files to. You can either choose to extract them to the folder to which you downloaded the zip file, or choose another folder.

Once the files have been extracted the destination folder will open, and you'll see two files. One, DS4Updater.exe, is a program that will keep the DS4Windows program updated with the latest drivers, so it's worth running this file if you encounter problems later.

Double-click the second file, DS4Windows.exe, to begin the setup procedure that will get the PS4 Dualshock Controller working on your PC.

How to use the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on PC

DS4Windows installs the relevant drivers

3. Set up DS4Windows

When you launch DS4Windows for the first time you'll be asked where you want your settings and profiles to be saved – we'd recommend using the default selection of 'Appdata'.

A new window will open. Click 'Install the DS4 Driver' to enable you to use the PS4 DualShock controller in Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

If you have Windows 7 or older then you'll need to click on 'Install 360 Driver' as well.

How to use the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on PC

Micro USB cable

4. Connect the PS4 controller to your PC via USB

Now you'll be able to connect your PS4 DualShock 4 controller to your PC. You can do this in two ways – either via a USB cable or via Bluetooth.

To connect the PS4 DualShock controller to your PC via a USB cable you just need a regular micro USB cable – the same one that comes with many modern smartphones.

Once you've plugged the cable into both the DualShock controller and your PC, Windows should detect it, and you'll be ready to play PC games using the PS4 controller.

How to use the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on PC

Turn on Bluetooth using Windows

5. Connect the PS4 controller to your PC via Bluetooth

One of the best things about using the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on your PC is that you can use it wirelessly, giving you far more flexibility when gaming.

The PS4 DualShock 4 controller uses Bluetooth, so you'll need to make sure your PC or laptop has a Bluetooth receiver built in. If it doesn't, you can buy a Bluetooth USB dongle such as the Tiny USB 2.0 Bluetooth Mini Wireless Adapter; not only is this small enough to be plugged unobtrusively into your PC, it's also pretty cheap at just £2.99 (around US$4.55, AU$6.40).

How to use the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on PC

Press this button to turn on the controller

To connect the PS4 controller via Bluetooth, press and hold the central PS Button and the Share button for three seconds until the lightbar at the top of the controller begins to flash.

Next open up the Bluetooth settings on your PC. In Windows 10, click on the speech bubble icon in the Taskbar at the bottom-right corner of your screen. This opens up the Action Center – from there click 'Bluetooth' and then select 'Wireless Controller'.

You may be asked to enter a pair code – if so type in 0000. The PS4 DualShock controller will now be connected wirelessly to your PC.

Image credits: TechRadar

Matt Hanson

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.