How to Make a Controller Work for a PC


In the long lifespan of the PC there have been a plethora of controllers made for every conceivable use. Whether it's a one button retro joystick, a complete driving simulator, or a multi-button F-16 flightstick replica, these controllers all require that you install them in such a way that the computer recognizes their presence before they can be used. Fortunately, the methods used to install controllers on the PC have been standardized since the introduction of Windows 3.1, making one method fit all situations.

Things You'll Need

  • Controller drivers
  • USB to game port converter
  • Plug the controller into your PC. Most modern controllers use the USB port for connection, but older controllers developed prior to Microsoft Windows Vista primarily used the a 15 pin analog game port. If your controller is a game port controller and you're using Microsoft Windows XP 64-Bit, Vista or above, you need to plug your controller into the USB port via a USB to game port converter, as XP 64-Bit, Vista and above no longer support the 15 pin analog ports.

  • Turn on your PC. During the operating system boot-up, the system automatically searches for the controller. If the drivers are present, the operating system (OS) will add the controller to the system and it will be usable immediately. If not, the OS will report that no driver is available.

  • Install the controller driver from the installation disk or by downloading the driver from the controller manufacturer's website. If using the USB to game port converter, you may have to install the converter's driver prior to installing the controller driver.

  • Install any controller software for your controller device. Many advanced controllers have programmable buttons, and the controller software allows you to use this function.

  • Calibrate the controller using the device controller in the OS. Reach the calibration program by choosing 'joysticks' through the Windows OS control panel. The calibration establishes the center point of your controller as well as the movement range for use in the software which uses the controller. After calibration the controller should be ready to use.

Tips & Warnings

  • If there is no driver available for your controller you can still install it by choosing a generic controller type in the joystick control panel.

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