Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Controllers work well with Windows 8 built-in drivers

Posted by Paul Braren on Jan 3 2013 (updated on May 4 2014) in
  • Gaming
  • HowTo
  • Windows
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller(s) + Wireless Gaming Receiver for Xbox 360 = PC gaming fun


    If you have an Xbox 360, you probably have extra Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controllers that you can pair with your Windows 8 system, for some fun. Read more about Apple Mac Mini macZilla and Lenovo Yoga 13 yZilla, which do a great job running vintage games. In a compact, efficient way.

    The problem with getting these 2.4GHz controllers working with your PC is that the separate Microsoft-branded Wireless Gaming Receivers for Xbox 360 are getting rather hard to find. So how about a generic version? Yeah, it requires a unique driver installation, but the driver is baked right into Microsoft Windows 8.

    [works fine with native driver built into Windows 8.1 as well, see "May 04 2014 Update" added below this article]

    This "dongle" device itself costs well under $20 shipped, I tested Amazon's "Seller1ON1" and "Able Provider" reseller versions, variety of sellers on Amazon, or from or Newegg.


    The install process is pretty straight-forward, but you'll need to follow each step carefully:

    1) Connect the USB 2.0 cable from the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver to the Windows 8 PC
    make sure to always use that same USB port in the future, and don't use the CD that may have been included with the receiver

    2) On the Windows 8 system, press Win+X, then choose Device Manager
    then follow along with the following sequence of screenshots:


    3) Press Win+W, type Devices, select "Devices and Printers" and hit Enter.

    4) Turn off and unplug your Xbox 360 Console from power
    to be sure the controller doesn't power up the console in the next step

    5) Tap the power button on the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller

    6) Simultaneously press and hold the pairing buttons
    Press and hold the (only) button on the the Wireless Gaming Receiver, then also on the top of the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, holding both for about 3 seconds, you should hear the usual Windows "New device found" recognition tone.

    7) You'll now see the "Xbox 360 Wireless Controller" show up in Devices and Printers:


    8)  Test
    To demonstrate proper controller functionality, you can:

    • right-click on the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller in the Devices and Printers view
    • select "Game Controller Settings"
    • select the Xbox 360 For Windows controller
    • click the "Properties" button
    • on the Test tab that comes up, you can now test the controller's buttons and triggers for proper function

    9) Add more controllers
    If you have other controllers to add:
    press and hold the pairing buttons on the Wireless Gaming Receiver and on the top of the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, simultaneously for about 3 seconds

    10) You can now plug your Xbox 360 console back in
    Since the controller(s) are now paired with your PC instead of your console.

    11) Configure any PC games or simulators or emulators to use the newly available gaming controller(s)
    Go have fun, because this controller install is done! Be sure to manually turn off the controller when done playing.

    If you'd prefer a video walk-through of the install and testing instead, it's all shown clearly here:

    Comments sharing your successes, or failures, are always appreciated, right below this article.

    Related articles:

    May 04 2014 Update:


    With Windows 8.1 now released, good news, all the above information still applies. There's just one screenshot that varies slightly, seen here.

    Multiple controller support on one wireless receiver opens up interesting possiblities, such as configuring Dolphin Emulator for 2 player GameCube games. Enjoy!


    And here's a video of the same procedure working on 8.1: