How to Easily Connect an Xbox Controller to Steam on PC

Connecting your Xbox controller to Steam for playing games is pretty easy. And the first step to do so is by connecting the controller to your PC!

Updated on Nov 29, 2023
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How to Easily Connect an Xbox Controller to Steam on PC

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Connect Xbox Controller to PC

To connect your Xbox controller to Steam, the first thing you'll have to do is connect it to your PC. Honestly, I find connecting the Xbox controller to your PC to be a bit hard, but still doable! There are 3 ways to connect Xbox controllers to a PC: using a cable, with Bluetooth, or with Microsoft's Xbox adapter.

Connect Xbox Controller Using Cable

The best way to connect your Xbox controller to your PC is through a wired USB connection by using a cable. Personally, I'd use a cable as well because the latency that way is the lowest, albeit you'll need to be using a good cable. So here's how to connect your Xbox controller to a PC with a cable:

  1. Get a Micro USB or USB-C cable and connect one end of it to your Xbox controller
  2. Connect the other end of the cable to your PC
  3. Your PC should make a sound to confirm the connection
  4. If you haven't done this before, your Windows PC will download the needed drivers

Connect Xbox Controller to Steam With Cable

Your PC should instantly recognize the controller, so there's no hassle in doing extra work. But now you can go below to see the extra steps to connecting it with Steam to start playing the best Steam games using the controller!

Connect Xbox Controller Using Bluetooth

Another way to connect your Xbox controller to a PC is through Bluetooth. Compared to the last method, this can cause higher latency depending on your PC and controller as well. But even I from time to time hate messy cables ruining my gaming setup! So if you don't want to use cables, here's how to connect an Xbox controller to a PC using Bluetooth:

  1. Press and hold the main Xbox asson until it starts blinking
  2. Right around the back press and hold the Xbox wireless controller asson
  3. The main Xbox asson should start flashing rapidly to let you know you enabled Bluetooth
  4. Go to your PC, turn on Bluetooth, and go to add a new device
  5. Click and select "Xbox Wireless Controller" that appears while adding a Bluetooth device

Connect Xbox Controller to Steam With Bluetooth

Although you can use Bluetooth, I'd recommend you stick to using a USB cable. Especially if you have an older PC where there are higher chances the Xbox controller will keep disconnecting. But if you have a newer PC with good Bluetooth connectivity, then you shouldn't worry all that much!

Connect Xbox Controller Using Microsoft Xbox Adapter

Lastly, you can connect an Xbox controller to a PC with Microsoft's very own adapter. But compared to the last 2 methods, this can be a bit costly if you haven't purchased the adapter. Though if you have one lying around by any chance, here's how to connect an Xbox controller to a PC using the Microsoft Xbox adapter:

  1. Connect the Microsoft Xbox wireless adapter to a USB port on your PC
  2. Press and hold the Xbox asson at the top until it's blinking
  3. Press and hold the pairing asson for wireless controllers on the back
  4. Your PC and the Microsoft Xbox wireless adapter should instantly connect

Connect Xbox Controller to Steam With Microsoft Xbox Adapter

Using any of the methods above, another thing I'd recommend you do is install the Xbox Accessories app from the Microsoft Store. With it, you can update and even customize your controller however you wish!

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Install the Xbox Extended Feature Support Driver

Once your Xbox controller is connected to your PC, you're ready to set it up to Steam! First, we'll install a driver which should give you a bit more support and features when it comes to playing Steam games with your Xbox controller. Now here's how to install the Xbox extended feature support driver on Steam:

  1. Launch Steam and go to "Settings" by clicking the top left Steam logo
  2. Within the Settings menu, select the "Controller" tab on the left side
  3. Click on "Install" where it says "Xbox Extended Feature Support Driver"
  4. Once the installation is finished, restart your whole PC

Steam Install the Xbox Extended Feature Support Driver

Even some of the best Steam alternatives don't offer extended support and features like these for playing with an Xbox controller! For the drivers to function and the changes to take place, make sure you restart your PC, where you may have to connect your controller again.

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Enable the Steam Input for Xbox Controllers

The final step to connecting your Xbox controller to Steam is to enable it within the client. This will enable some great features like "Game rumble" you don't want to miss when connecting your controller to Steam!

To enable the Xbox controller on Steam, go to the "Controller" tab of the settings that we saw above. Then just turn on the "Enable Steam input for Xbox controllers" option! 

How to Enable the Steam Input for Xbox Controllers

If your controller is connected successfully to your PC, in this "Controller" tab of Steam at the top you'll see options like "Game rumble". However, if your controller isn't connected, then it will say "No controllers detected" in which case you'll have to check your cable or Bluetooth settings.

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Test the Xbox Controller on Steam

I once tried to play with an Xbox controller on Steam through my PC, but it wasn't working correctly at all! Luckily for us, there's an option in Steam to test out the controller before you enter a game. You'll be able to see if every asson is registered and working correctly directly on Steam.

To test your controller, go into the Steam Settings menu tab like we saw above. Then at the top where it says "Test Device Inputs" click the "Begin Tests" asson. Now you should click and check every asson and stick on your controller and see if it's moving on Steam.

Steam Test Xbox Controller

And that's everything you need to know for how to connect an Xbox controller on Steam. Connecting it to your PC will bring a lot of great features besides playing Steam games only. If by any chance you're running into issues, you can even try resetting your Xbox One controller if you're using that one!

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