How to connect a gamepad to a PC

Modern gamepads run on computers through the XInput programming interface, which Microsoft developed to support Xbox controllers on Windows. Third-party gamepads also work through it. Prior to the introduction of the Xbox 360 in late 2005, the DirectInput standard was also in use. Nowadays, it is used only in a few games that support specific controllers like joysticks, steering wheels and steering wheels for simulators.

These standards are not interchangeable. They differ in that XInput has a fixed button assignment, as in Xbox consoles, and DirectInput allows you to change and reassign the function of any key.

About compatibility in games

Almost all modern games since 2006 use the XInput standard. DirectInput is found only in simulators. API support depends on the specific game: if the developers have not implemented it, the gamepad of an incompatible standard will not work (although it can still be used, more on that below).

Game controllers may support XInput or DirectInput depending on the model and manufacturer. Some gamepads are compatible with both standards – in them you can change the mode of operation using a special switch or by holding down a certain key combination.

There are special programs that allow you to turn a DirectInput device into XInput, as well as simulate keystrokes on the keyboard using the gamepad buttons. In the latter case, you can play on the controller even those games that do not initially support it.

How to connect a compatible gamepad to a PC via USB

With wired controllers, everything is extremely simple. They have maximum compatibility and are almost guaranteed to work on Windows, macOS and Linux . All operating systems have support for universal manipulators and built-in drivers. The same is true for connecting wireless devices via cable. However, with this method, some of their additional functions may not be available.

  1. Connect the controller to your PC by plugging the end of the cable into one of the USB ports. Desirable directly, without using hubs and extension cords.
  2. Wait a little while the device is recognized by the system and configured. On Windows, appropriate notifications will be displayed at this time. On macOS and Linux, there are usually no messages, and the gamepad just starts working.
  3. Start the game and make sure everything is connected.

How to connect a compatible gamepad to a PC via Bluetooth

There are nuances with wireless gamepads. For everything to work, the controller must first of all be compatible with the OS. Further, to connect, you need a wireless adapter from the kit. In the case of a direct connection via Bluetooth, this communication protocol is supported by the computer itself – using a built-in module or an external USB adapter .

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  1. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on on your PC .
  2. Activate the detection mode on the controller using the combination of buttons indicated in the instructions. For example, for a PlayStation 4 DualShock 4, you need to hold Share and PS until the indicator light starts flashing.
  3. Open Bluetooth settings on your computer. In Windows, go to the Start menu, click on the gear, select Devices → Bluetooth and other devices and then Add Bluetooth or other device. In macOS – “Settings” → Bluetooth. In Linux, click on the Bluetooth icon on the taskbar, and then on the item “Add a new device …”.
  4. When the PC detects the gamepad, click on it in the list of devices, select “Add” or “Connect” and wait until the pairing is complete.

How to connect an incompatible gamepad to a PC using third-party software

If your gamepad only supports DirectInput and the game simply does not see it, the TocaEdit X360 Controller Emulator, or shortly x360ce, will help. It can replace input commands from DirectInput to XInput and will turn any controller into a compatible one.

The x360ce works almost automatically and independently recognizes and reassigns buttons. It is enough to connect a gamepad and follow the prompts.

Download TocaEdit X360 Controller Emulator →

If the gamepad is not supported at all in the game, it can still be made to work with the free utilities Enjoyable, InputMapper, and AntiMicro, which will simulate keyboard keystrokes and mouse movements using the game controller.

The interface is slightly different depending on the application, but they all work according to the same principle. After connecting the gamepad, you need to select it in the list of devices, and then go through all the buttons and assign those keys to them that are used to control the game.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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