How To: Connect a Wireless Xbox 360 Controller to Windows 7, 8 & 8.1

It’s Friday night and here’s very nerdy entry that’s probably not of interest to any of you, but in case you try to do what I did yesterday it can save you a lot of frustration: How to connect a Wireless Xbox 360 controller to Windows 7, 8 & 8.1 x64 (64-bit) using an Xbox 360 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gaming Receiver for PC. I bought my unit from DealExtreme. The step-by-step guide below can probably also be used with the 32 bit version of Windows 7, 8 & 8.1 and all other versions that Microsoft has created drivers for, but it’s only tested on Windows 7, 8 & 8.1 x64.

Not able to get the below to work? First of all, make sure you’ve followed each step exactly. If you’re still unable to connect your controller, I’m afraid you have to keep searching the internet for a solution. The steps below worked for me on my computer, but your setup might be a bit different, requiring different steps.

  1. Do not connect the receiver yet.
  2. Download the driver for your operating system from the Microsoft download site. At the time of writing, there are no Windows 8 and 8.1 drivers available on the download page, but you can download the Windows 7 drivers – they work on Windows 8 and 8.1 as well.
  3. Install the drivers.
  4. Connect the receiver.
  5. Windows will try to install the drivers for the connected device and fail miserably. But there’s no need to panic!
  6. Open Windows Explorer (keyboard shortcut: WIN+E), right click on “Computer” and click “Properties”.
  7. Select “Device Manager” from the menu on the left.
  8. You should see an “Unknown device” under “Other devices” in the device tree.
  9. Right click the “Unknown device” and click “Update Driver Software…”.
  10. Select “Browse my computer for driver software”.
  11. Select “Let me pick from a list of devices drivers on my computer”.
  12. From the list, select “Microsoft Common Controller for Windows Class” and click “Next”.
  13. From the list, select “Xbox 360 Controller For Windows Version: [13.08.2009]” and click “Next”.
  14. Click “Yes” when the “Update Driver Warning” dialogue box is displayed.
  15. The drivers should be installed successfully. Click “Close”.
  16. Turn on your wireless controller by pressing the Xbox button for a couple of seconds.
  17. To sync the controller and the receiver, first hold the little white button the the front of the controller. The green lights on the controller should start to rotate clockwise.
  18. While the lights on the controller rotate, click the button on the receiver connected to your computer.
  19. The controller and the device will sync and the upper left green light on your controller will eventually be the only green light turned on. You can now enjoy console gaming on your Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 computer.

By Vegard Skjefstad

47 replies on “How To: Connect a Wireless Xbox 360 Controller to Windows 7, 8 & 8.1”

Connecting a wired controller should be even easier. I haven’t tried this, becasuse I don’t have a wired controller, but I assume it goes something like this: Just download the drivers from here, and install them. Then plug in the controller.

Would it be possible to just connect the controller through the recharger? My laptop recognizes the controller, practiclly he skipps step 5.
Help please

I’m not sure what you mean by “through the recharger”. I’ve never used one, so I suggest that you continue from step 6. It might be that your controller has been recognized as some sort of USB device, but not an actual Xbox 360 controller.

I still, for the life of me, cannot get this damn thing to work. It just wont sync. The green lights just spin and spin until the sync time runs out then all four ports just flash green. It never syncs.

Windows 7 x64

Did you remember to also press the sync button on the wireless receiver connected to your computer (#18 in the list above)? You could also try to press the sync button on the receiver before you press the sync button on the controller and see if that helps.


I tried installing the remote controller and before it workt like a charm, but since a week my PC doenst reconize it anymore. when i try step 8 it doesnt say Other devices, and the unknown device is under universal serial bus-controllers. when i pick this unknown device it doesnt give the microsolf remote controller driver, i did install the diversoftware from windowns but still gives no results.

What am i supposed to do?

Did you try to uninstall the drivers and then install them again? To uninstall, right click the unknown device in Device Manager and click Uninstall. If there’s a checkbox you can check to uninstall the driver, check that box and click OK. Restart you computer and then reinstall the drivers following the instructions in this entry (including downloading the driver again from the Microsoft site).

I followed each step but my controller has yet to connect to my receiver even though I have the correct driver in it. I also tried using it in different USB ports and uninstalling then re-Installing the driver to see if I messed up somewhere. The receiver I’m using is a HDE Wireless Receiver. (Showing the correct driver installed.)

Also I’m not sure if the receiver’s light is supposed to be blinking when you press the sync button, if so, it does not. It blinks when I first plug it in but it goes to a solid light either when I press the sync button while it blinks or I just wait a while.

I’m also unsure if you’re able to use a wireless controller that wasn’t specifically made for PC. I’m using a Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller that I use to play on well, my Xbox 360. but I wish to be able to change from Xbox 360 to PC without having to use a different controller.

Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated.

I’m not familiar with the HDE Wireless Receiver, but on my model, I think the light will blink until it’s synchronized with the controller. The standard Xbox 360 controller is compatible with the PC, so that should not be a problem – if you’re able to connect to the Xbox, you should also be able to connect to the PC. I’ve got a few things you might want to try out:

1. If you’re connecting the receiver to a desktop computer, try to connect to the USB connections on the motherboard itself (at the back of the PC), and not the hub ports in the front.
2. Is the Xbox turned on while you’re trying to connect to the PC. If so, turn it off.
3. Press and hold the button on the receiver and see if the light starts blinking again.
4. Replace the receiver, it might be broken.

I’m not familiar with this error message, you should search Microsoft’s site for a solution.

You could try plugin the device into a USB port that is connected directly to your motherboard (probably one on the back of your desktop computer) and see if that helps.

It depends what you mean by a “normal” Xbox 360 controller. A wired controller should be plug-and-play, just plug it into your computer. If you have a wireless controller, you need a wireless controller like the one I refer to in the post above – you can’t use a charging cable, it will only charge the controller.

This worked great for me, though downloading the driver using Windows 8.1 was a bit confusing because the Microsoft dl page only has options for XP, Vista, and Win7. Since I don’t see anyone else mentioning it, I found that the latest win7 driver works fine for win8 as well.

Thanks for the instructions! After tried everything this finally works. What the **** is up with MS releasing this piece of junk drivers??

Hi.egy problemam van.szinkron elviszem a kontrollert már 20 cm-es tavolsagba,akkor már kilèp.nem tudok vele jatszani 3 meterre azt irja a konyv max 30 meter.miert dob ki?windows 8.1 .koszonom

I only have one controller, so I can’t answer that, unfortunately. I’m guessing it also depends on what kind of wireless USB receiver you’re using. A much simpler solution would be to connect two wired controllers.

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