Skip to main content

How to use your Xbox Series X controller on PC

Take your new controller with you from the couch to the desk

xbox series x controller
(Image: © Microsoft)

The latest and greatest Xbox consoles, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, launched with a new take on Xbox controllers. Although they may look similar to the controller that came with the Xbox One, there are some differences that you'll find with the Xbox Series X/S controller

The most obvious difference between the newer and older controller is the inclusion of a Share button. This allows you to easily capture screenshots, which is something the PS4 introduced years before, so it makes sense the Xbox would finally be playing catch up.

While this new version of the Xbox controller was designed first and foremost to five you a fantastic experience playing on your new next-gen console, you can also carry it over to your PC, if you like to play games there too, that is. It's not only among the best controllers for PC you can buy today, but setting it up is relatively simple. If the thought of using a high-end games controller on your PC appeals, then read on because in this guide we'll explain everything you need to know.

There are two different ways to connect your Xbox Series X/S controller to your PC. You can use a micro-USB cable or you can connect via Bluetooth. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. 

Here's how to use your Xbox Series X controller on PC.

How to use your Xbox Series X controller on PC via USB-C

Using a USB-C cable is the simplest way to play, as it removes any fears of the battery draining while you're having fun. It does mean you'll be tethered with the length of the cord, though. To set up your controller on PC for the first time, do the following:

  • Connect a USB-C cable to your controller
  • Connect the other end to a USB 3.0 or better port on your PC. 
  • Windows should automatically install the correct driver. If it doesn't, make sure you have the latest version of Windows installed.
  • When it's ready, the Xbox button on the controller will turn white.

How to use your Xbox Series X controller on PC via Bluetooth

Using a Bluetooth connection for your controller eliminates any worries of being tangled or tethered with a cord. You'll have to keep an eye on the battery life, though.

  • Turn on your Xbox controller by holding down the Xbox button.
  • Press the Pairing button to begin the Bluetooth pairing process. 
  • Press the Start button on your PC. 
  • Then select Settings, then Devices, then Bluetooth & other devices.
  • Turn on Bluetooth.
  • Select Add Bluetooth or other device.
  • Select Xbox Wireless Controller.

If your PC doesn't support Bluetooth, you can add support with a Bluetooth dongle like the Techkey (opens in new tab) that'll connect via USB. 

How to update your Xbox Series X controller on PC

To make sure your controller stays updated with the latest firmware and features available on PC, you'll want to download the Xbox Accessories App (opens in new tab). It's an optional step but one that ensures you'll always have the best experience possible.

How to use your Xbox Series X controller on Steam

In most cases, your Xbox controller should automatically work with a PC game if it's connected. As Xbox controllers are among the most popular controller choices for PC gamers to use, everything generally works automatically without any special settings. 

If you want to absolutely guarantee that everything functions as intended, however, you can enable something called Big Picture Mode. Here's how.

  • Open Steam.
  • Make sure your controller is connected via USB-C or Bluetooth.
  • Select Steam settings.
  • Select Controller.
  • Select General Controller Settings.

Steam should now show that you have a controller connected and will either automatically select certain settings or ask you to configure your Xbox Series X controller. You can remap buttons however you please. 

When you're done, make sure to select Generic Gamepad Configuration Support and Xbox Configuration Support and you'll be good to go.

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance games journalist. His bylines can be found at Android Central, Windows Central, iMore and TechRadar.