The Saitek X52 is a powerful joystick with 23 buttons and three hat switches. Each hat switch can be manipulated in one of eight different directions; the joystick also has a three-way mode switch and a shift button, which gives a total of 282 possible commands. To keep this from becoming overwhelming, Saitek uses specialised control software with a straightforward user interface.
Connect the USB plug of the X52 to your computer, and insert the CD that came with the joystick. Follow the on-screen instructions to install both the joystick drivers and the Saitek Smart Technology (SST) software.
Right-click the X52's icon in your taskbar --- it will look like a small joystick --- and click "Profile Editor" to start SST. Note that the profile editor has a drop-down menu at the top, allowing you to select between different modes. You can switch between the modes when playing a computer game by turning the dial at the top of the joystick.
Click on the picture of the joystick to make it the active controller, and then click on one of the buttons to select it; that button will become highlighted in the button list in the right column.
Select on the highlighted button in the right column, which will cause a flashing cursor to appear. Type the keys on your keyboard that correspond to the command you want to program. For example, if your game requires you to hit "shift" and "B" at the same time to drop a bomb, you would type the keys in exactly the same fashion in SST.
Click the green check mark to save the programming for that button. Proceed through the remainder of the buttons until you have programmed the X52 with all of the appropriate commands. Click the blue floppy disk icon in the top left of the SST window and then choose "Save As" to save your list of commands, making sure to give the file a descriptive name that you won't forget.