Microsoft has created a closed ecosystem for gaming across its platforms. It makes Windows friendly to Xbox accessories, but sometimes, there’re errors. And we know you’re here with a particular question: how to fix a computer not recognizing Xbox One controller?
You may be playing on your PC with the controller, and suddenly, it stops working. Alternatively, the computer fails to read it through a cable or Bluetooth. The error status is often “USB device is not recognized.” If you use it via Bluetooth, you’d see the computer fails to find it.
We’re looking to fix the issue with a series of quick fixes and address potential bugs affecting your operative system or your controller.
Computer Not Recognizing Xbox One Controller Causes
Here’s the list of likely culprits:
- Your Windows is out of date. It causes compatibility issues.
- The controller’s firmware is out of date. It also causes compatibility issues.
- The controller’s drivers are out of date. It would help if you keep them up to par to avoid compatibility issues.
- Your wireless controller is already paired with another device.
- Your anti-virus software is preventing the controller from working correctly. It may be blocking essential functions your apps (such as Xbox App or Steam) are using.
- You don’t have the proper configurations on Steam. You must enable particular options to use the Xbox controller on the platform.
- The USB port is faulty. Similarly, you’re using USB ports that don’t have power -this is in case you’re using a PC, as the ports on the side, top, or front may not have power.
If you think you know which of these is the problem, you can go straight to the particular solution you need.
How to Fix Computer Not Recognizing Xbox One Controller?
The problem presents itself in two ways.
- If you’re trying to use the controller with its USB cable, you’d see an error message: “USB Device Not Recognized.” It could be that the computer doesn’t read the device and doesn’t deliver any notice either.
- You’d see the controller’s light blinking if you’re trying to use the controller via Bluetooth. Then, Windows will fail to find the device via the Bluetooth menu.
We’re reviewing all of the possible fixes. You will most likely need to do various things to find your solution.
The Xbox controller needs the latest Windows update to work correctly, So, we’re starting by updating the system.
The steps are the same on Windows 10 or 11. Here’s what you can do:
- Click the Windows button on the taskbar.
- Click on Settings
- Go to Windows Update.
- Click on Check for Updates.
- If there’re updates available, select “Download and install.”
- To check for additional updates, select Advanced Options
- Click Optional Updates.
- If you see any updates available, select them as well. And click Download and Install.
You’ll need to restart the system to perform the installation when Windows downloads an update.
Reset the Xbox Controller
The next step is resetting the controller to erase bugs and glitches. We can do so through a power cycle:
- Make sure your Xbox console is off.
- Flip the controller and take off its batteries.
- Test the batteries on another device. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series has a proprietary battery pack, so skip this step if you have that device.
- If the batteries don’t have a charge, get a new pack, or charge the pack.
- Wait for about five minutes.
- Place the batteries in the controller.
You’re still not ready to test the controller. First, we need to update it via the Xbox Accessories app.
Update the Controller via Xbox Accessories
After you update Windows, you should update the controller’s firmware with the Xbox Accessories app. You can download it for free on the Microsoft Store.
Once the app is on your PC, plug the controller into your computer via its USB cable. Then, you can update the controller on Windows 10 and 11 via the Xbox Accessories app. So, first, get into the Microsoft Store.
- Open the app.
- If there’s an available update, select it.
- Follow the screen prompts to complete the update.
If the app doesn’t recognize the controller, you may have to reinstall it like so:
- Right-click the Windows icon on the taskbar.
- Select Apps & features
- Find Xbox Accessories on the list.
- Click on the three vertical dots, and select Uninstall. You may also see Advanced options -click that if that’s the case.
- Confirm the process.
After the uninstall, restart your PC and re-download the app from the Microsoft Store. Afterward, try updating the controller again.
Update the USB Drivers
You can also try to update the drivers of the USB ports via the Device Manager.
- Plug the controller into the PC once again.
- Right-click the Windows button on the taskbar.
- Select Device Manager.
- Click Universal Serial Bus controllers.
- Right-click every item and select Update driver.
- Then, select Search automatically for drivers. If the PC finds any update, it will let you know.
Change the USB Port
USB ports can be faulty or out of power. If you’re on a PC, plug the controller into the backports. Also, you should use USB 3.0 ports, which have red colors.
Similarly, you can try using another micro-USB-to-USB cable, or test your cable elsewhere.
Reset the Bluetooth Connection
If you’re using the controller via Bluetooth, you may want to delete it from the Bluetooth list and then try pairing it again to your PC.
Additionally, ensure that your consoles are off and that your controller is not paired on any other device. Otherwise, it won’t work.
Here’s what you need to do.
- Type “bluetooth” on the search bar.
- Select “Bluetooth & other devices settings.”
- Find the controller on the list.
- Right-click the three vertical dots and select Remove Device.
- Take out the controller’s batteries.
- Plug the controller into the PC with its USB cable to hard reset the peripheral.
- Unplug the controller and put the battery pack in.
Now, you should re-pair the controller via Bluetooth. Before we go on, please try to unplug any non-essential peripherals from the Bluetooth.
That said, here’re the steps:
- Turn on your PC’s Bluetooth
- Toggle the Bluetooth slider on.
- Click on “Add a device”
- Select Bluetooth.
- Press and hold the controller’s Xbox button until the lights start to flash.
- Select the Xbox Wireless Controller from the list.
If you haven’t updated the controller by now, you should try to update it.
Temporarily Disable the Antivirus
You can try to disable the antivirus while you play with the controller. I’m sharing an example with Windows Defender, Microsoft’s built-in security software.
If you’re using another anti-virus, you’ll find similar steps.
- Press the Windows key.
- Select Settings > Privacy and Settings
- Select Windows Security
- Select “Open Windows Security.“
- Select Virus & threat protection.
- Select Manage Settings under Virus & threat protection.
- Turn off Cloud-delivered protection and Real-time protection.
Use a Windows Wireless Xbox Adapter
If your PC can’t still recognize your wireless controller, you can try using an Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows.
This is a USB 3.0 device you can plug into your PC. It will install Xbox controller drivers on Windows 7, 8, 10, or 11. Then, it will recognize your controller via Bluetooth.
These are the steps:
- Connect the adapter to your PC’s USB port.
- Turn on the controller by pressing the Xbox button.
- Press the adapter’s Pairing button.
- Press and hold the controller’s Xbox button until the lights start blinking. When the light stops blinking, it means it synced with the PC.
- Press the Pairing button on the Wireless Adapter.
- Press the Pairing button on your controller. When the button stays lit, you have connected the controller.
- Plug the Wireless Adapter into a USB port in your PC.
- Go to Bluetooth & Other devices on your PC.
- Turn on the Bluetooth.
- Select Add a device
- Select Everything Else.
- Press and hold the controller’s Xbox button until the lights blink.
- Select the controller from the list.
These adapters work in case your PC can’t get the proper Xbox controller drivers. Windows PCs should have Xbox drivers built-in. Something could have gone wrong, though, and so the final solution would be using one of these devices.