How to Configure PC Game Controllers

Written by arn goldman
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How to Configure PC Game Controllers
PC controllers are best configured within individual games. (Video game controller image by Christopher Meder from

Many PC games are ideally designed to use the keyboard and the mouse as controllers. In particular, shooting games make great use of the mouse, which makes aiming much easier. However, certain types of games, such as sports and action games, are better played using a gamepad, which for some users feels more natural, and typically allows for more organic movement.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • PC controller
  • Game software

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  1. 1

    Connect the PC controller to one of your open USB ports.

  2. 2

    Detect whether your PC already has your controller's drivers. If you've used your controller successfully in the past, you probably don't need to update your drivers. If you don't receive a Windows message saying that drivers were installed successfully, access the controller manufacturer's website and download the latest drivers for your system.

  3. 3

    Install and open the game you'd like to use the controller for.

  4. 4

    Find the controller configuration settings. In many games, you can find this in the main menu's "Options" tab or button.

  5. 5

    View whether the controller configuration has automatically detected your PC game controller. You should see an illustration of a PC controller and a list of actions within the game. If you cannot find any options for PC controllers, the game you've chosen might not be compatible with controllers.

  6. 6

    Map the controller settings to your liking. In most games you'll find a menu listing various commands, which are automatically attached to particular buttons. Scroll down the list and press the button on your controller that you'd like to use to execute the command. For example, if you'd like to use the "A" button to shoot, scroll down to the shoot function and press "A," which will now be used within the game for performing the shooting functions.

  7. 7

    Exit the controller configuration page and begin playing. If you don't like the controller configuration you chose, you might be able to access the same controller menu on the in-game "Pause" screen.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're having trouble using your controller with your PC, make sure that it is compatible with your operating system. Many newer controllers require either Windows Vista or Windows 7 or newer, as of 2010.

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