Some devices and items feature timeless designs, so they don’t need replacement. One of these items is the Xbox 360 controller, but it’s not free of problems in 2022.
You’ve probably seen the issue while trying to use the controller on Steam, Epic Games, or the Xbox app. Errors that prevent its proper functionality are increasingly common on Windows 10, and Windows 11.
When the Xbox 360 doesn’t work on your Windows PC, you’re probably facing driver issues, random bugs, or corruption on your operating system. None of these issues will require complex troubleshooting. Instead, we can fix it with a couple of updates and tweaks.
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Computer Not Recognizing Xbox 360 Controller Causes
Because X360 controllers are fairly old hardware, their problems and the causes of their problems are fairly common.
So, we’re sharing the list of errors you could be facing. Understanding the culprit can help you solve the problem faster.
- Windows is Out of Date: This is the most common issue, as outdated operative systems bring compatibility issues.
- Drivers Are Not Up to Date: Believe it or not, you still need to keep your controller up to date, even if it’s old.
- Wrong Power Management Configurations: Some power management options may prevent your computer from sending power to USB ports.
- Xbox Game Bar is Causing Issues: Because Microsoft has changed the Xbox ecosystem, the controller can be incompatible with the app.
- You Have the Wrong Configurations on Steam: If you’re using the controller on Steam, you need to enable the appropriate options.
- USB Port Is Faulty: Sometimes, your USB port is working fine, but the PC can be stubborn when reading older hardware! In any case, it’s a cause to consider.
As you see, these errors should be easy to fix. If you think you have pin-pointed the mistake on your PC, you can start with the solution that tackles that issue.
How to Fix Computer Not Recognizing Xbox 360 Controller?
We’re sharing a list of solutions to make your Xbox 360 controller work on Windows 10 and Windows 11. You can try them, one by one until you fix your problem.
Also, these fixes are for wireless and wired Xbox 360 controllers. Wireless controllers require USB receivers and extra drivers. Wired controllers don’t need anything extra.
Change the USB port
Let’s start with the simple fix, as it can save a lot of time. Connecting the Xbox 360 controller to front, side, or upper-side USB ports may cause the error.
We recommend connecting the controller to the back USB ports. This post may be either black, grey, blue, or red -any would work.
Also, avoid plugging the controller into a USB hub, which causes inconsistent connections on Windows 10 and 11.
If you have a laptop, you’ll realize the device may have a blue USB port on one side and gray or black USB ports on another side. It would be best to use the blue 3.0 USB port, although Xbox 360 controllers also work on regular black or gray 2.0 ports.
Also, it could be that one of the ports is broken or faulty, so you should keep trying until the PC or laptop reads the controller.
We continue with a reliable Windows update. Here’re the steps to update your Windows.
- Type “Update” on the search bar
- Select “Check for Updates.”
- Click “Check for updates.” If there’re any available downloads, select “Download and install” instead.
- If you’re PC finds updates, select Download and install. After the download finishes, restart your PC as soon as possible to let the updates install.
Setup the Wireless Receiver
If you’re using a wireless Xbox 360 controller, you should have a USB receiver, and perhaps you’re confused. Let me guide you through the process.
- Start by removing the green label from the wireless receiver.
- Plug the receiver into a blue or red USB. If you’re using a PC, plug it into a USB port on the back. A green light will indicate it’s working.
- An automatic wizard may pop up. Follow the instructions to install the receiver. Otherwise, the process should be automatic.
Reinstall the Xbox 360 Drivers
Another way to fix the Xbox 360 controller on a PC is by reinstalling its drivers. Windows should install the drivers automatically, but it may fail due to software corruption or unstable internet. This is in case you’re using the USB wireless receiver.
So, here’s how to do it manually:
- Type “device manager” on the Windows search bar.
- Open “Device Manager.”
- Under the Xbox 360 peripherals section, find the Xbox 360 controller. Look it up on Other Devices, Universal Serial Bus Controllers, or Network Adapters if you don’t find it.
- Right-click the controller and select Uninstall.
- Restart your PC so Windows can install the proper drivers.
Disable the Xbox Game Bar
Because Microsoft has changed and updated its Xbox ecosystem various times, the Xbox 360 controller may be incompatible with the app.
So, it would be best to disable it altogether. If you have Windows 10, here’s how to do it:
- Click on the Windows icon.
- Select Settings.
- Select Gaming
- Click on Xbox Game Bar
- Toggle off the app.
Alternatively, there is another way to disable it:
- Press the Windows key plus X on the keyboard.
- Select Apps and Features
- Find Xbox Game Bar
- Click “Advanced Options”
- Toggle off its permissions.
- Scroll down and select Terminate
The Xbox Game Bar should not give any more trouble to your Xbox 360 controllers.
Enable the Proper Options on Steam
As I said, you must enable the right options on Steam via its Big Picture Mode. This is a full-screen interface that grants extra options. For example, it’s where you’d find the option to download controller drivers for Steam.
- Open Steam as administrator. You have to right-click its icon and select “Run as administrator.”
- Click on the arrow icon at the top right to open the Big Picture mode icon.
- Click the Settings cog.
- Select “Controller settings” on the right.
- Check these tabs: “Guide Button Focuses Steam,” “Xbox Configuration Support,” and “Xbox Extended Feature Support.”
Now, plug your controller into a USB port. Steam will download the drivers it needs and reset them. Afterward, you should be able to use the controller in Big Picture Mode and use it for gaming.
Additionally, you should disable the Input Per-game setting, as it can render your controller useless in favor of a keyboard and mouse.
- Go back to the Big Picture mode.
- Click on Library.
- Go to Installed on the left-side panel.
- Select the game you’ll play with the controller.
- On the left-side panel, select Manage Game Options.
- Under Steam Input, select Controller Configuration.
- Select select Force Off on Steam Input Per-Game Setting.
- Click Ok and restart Steam.
Now, relaunch Steam and test your controller.
Disable the Steam Overlay
Another common error is using the Steam Overlay alongside an Xbox 360 controller. The option is problematic by itself and becomes even more faulty with older peripherals.
So, it would be best to disable the Overlay altogether.
- Open Steam again.
- Click on the Steam menu.
- Select Settings.
- Go to the In-Game tab.
- Disable the Steam overlay by unchecking its box.
Change the Power Management Options
In case you’re using a wireless controller, bear in mind the receiver has power management options. It may not be working anymore, and you can restart it to fix the issue.
- Go to Device Manager again.
- Go to Network Adapters.
- Right-click Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows.
- Select Properties.
- Go to the Power Management tab.
- Uncheck “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.”