How To Fix an Xbox Controller That Won’t Connect to PC

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gamepadtester   Image Posted Dec.21st, 2022, viewed 275 times

How To Fix an Xbox Controller That Won’t Connect to PC

The Xbox controller can be used to play PC games, which yields a better experience for some gamers. However, there are times when the device stubbornly refuses to connect to your computer.

This issue can be very irritating and you may be tempted to give up, but don’t lose hope; there are a few simple ways to fix the issue. By following these tricks, your controller could be back to normal in no time. Read on for all the details. See this free little tool Gamepad Tester to test out controller inputs, since there's hardly a way to test them out without running a game.

Xbox Controller Won’t Connect to PC with Bluetooth


The newer Xbox One controller model can be paired with any computer with Bluetooth functionality. Therefore, this section won’t apply to older controller models that run on a proprietary standard and require a dongle.

If you own a standard Bluetooth Xbox One controller, there are a few neat fixes you can try.

The Xbox Series X|S controllers also use Bluetooth. One primary difference is the Xbox One controller uses Micro USB cables to charge and sync to devices, while the Series X|S controllers require a USB-C wire instead.

Toggle Bluetooth On and Off


Sometimes, you won’t see the controller on your list of available Bluetooth devices. One solution is to simply disable and enable Bluetooth connectivity again. Sometimes that’s enough to solve the problem.

If not, try removing the controller’s batteries and ensure it’s not connected via a USB cable. If this solution works, you can continue playing your games using the controller.

Switch Batteries


Sometimes, you won’t see the controller on your list of available Bluetooth devices. One solution is to simply disable and enable Bluetooth connectivity again. Sometimes that’s enough to solve the problem.

If not, try removing the controller’s batteries and ensure it’s not connected via a USB cable. If this solution works, you can continue playing your games using the controller.

Switch Batteries


The batteries you use with your controller can also affect connectivity, especially if they’re not disposable ones. Third-party rechargeable packs can also malfunction because they’re not official products. Should a battery swap work, stick with it, and stop using the previous ones.
Restart the Controller

Sometimes, restarting a device solves all problems, which can also work with an Xbox controller. Hold the Xbox button down for several seconds to turn it off. Hopefully, your computer will detect it once it’s active again.

Update the Firmware


The proper firmware is necessary for USB or Bluetooth accessories to work with anything, whether it be a PC or video game console. Controllers may not have their firmware kept up to date, which may prevent compatibility with the latest version of Windows. Thankfully, there’s a step you can take to fix this issue.

The easiest solution is to connect your Xbox controller to an Xbox One console using a USB cable or wirelessly. Doing so will install the newest firmware.

However, those who only have the controller can still renew the firmware using Windows 10 computers and later.
  • Download and install Xbox Accessories.

  • Connect the controller to your PC via a USB cable.

  • Open the Xbox Accessories software.

  • Update your controller.

  • Once the update is complete, close the software.

These steps are simple enough to try, and the controller should work with your PC once again. If your Windows PC recently received an update, it’s best to check if that affects Xbox controller usage.

Optimize the Signal


The Xbox controller will work even if you’re farther away from the computer, but having too many active Bluetooth devices or other objects may disrupt the signal. That’s why your PC may not detect your controller, especially if there’s some distance and interference.

The solution to having too much interference is to reduce the number of Bluetooth devices currently running. It would help if you also had as few objects between the controller and PC as possible. That way, the connection will be stronger with less chance of disruption.

Try a Comprehensive Troubleshoot


The troubleshooter on Windows is a handy tool that may identify the problem. Here are the steps for Windows 11.
  • Open the Windows Start Menu.

  • Go to the Settings menu.

  • Pick “System.”

  • Search for and click on “Troubleshoot Settings” and then look for “Additional Troubleshooters.”

  • Select “Run” beside “Hardware And Devices.”

The steps are slightly different on Windows 10.
  • Go to the Start Menu.

  • Navigate to the Settings menu.

  • Select “Update & Security.”

  • Head to “Troubleshoot Settings”

  • Click on “Additional Troubleshooters.”

  • Select “Hardware And Devices.”

  • Click on “Run The Troubleshooter.”

You can use the same steps for the Bluetooth troubleshooter, as they’re located on the same page. Both will let you troubleshoot the Xbox controller if you select it.

If this manages to identify the problem, it will be much easier for you to fix it.

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