How to Connect Xbox 360 Controller to PC Without Receiver

Mehak Sohail | Last Updated On January 19th, 2022

Playing video games with a keyboard (see also best mechanical keyboard kits) and mouse can get tiring, especially if you are a long-time console gamer switching over to PC gaming from time to time.

In my opinion, some games are best played with a keyboard and mouse (games such as competitive first-person shooters,) whereas others are more comfortable and easier with a controller. (fighting games and racing games)

What’s amazing about gaming on a PC with a controller is that you can always switch back and forth between mouse/keyboard and controller seamlessly with the press of a button. (I usually do this when I’m playing Rocket League)

So if you’ve got an old wired Xbox 360 controller lying around, now’s the best time to use it on your PC. But what about wireless controllers? Is it possible to set up a wireless Xbox 360 controller without the stock receiver? If so, how to connect Xbox 360 controller to PC without receiver?

Yes, It is possible to connect an Xbox 360 controller to a PC without a receiver, as you can easily find another one or use a third-party adapter. 

So, to help you interface your Xbox 360 controller with your PC, we are going to talk about several topics such as:

  • How to set up a wired Xbox 360 controller?
  • How to set up a wireless controller?
  • What to look for when buying a new adapter/receiver?
  • What’s Xbox Gamepass?

With that being said, let’s get into it.

How to Set Up a Wired Xbox 360 Controller?

If you’ve already got a wired Xbox 360 controller, then you don’t have to worry about all this adapter/receiver nonsense. Just plug it into a USB port and let it install the drivers. Once the drivers have installed, check if the controller backlight lights up the Xbox logo. (the large button in between the “back” and “start” buttons, also called the “Guide” button)

If the lights are on, the controller is good to go. Take it a step further and check it out by loading up a controller-friendly game to see if the in-game menu responds to your controller, and just like that, you’ve set up your wired Xbox 360 controller.

Unfortunately, if the lights are flashing and the controller doesn’t seem to work, plug it into a different USB port or try restarting your computer. If that doesn’t seem to solve the problem, you’ve probably got an incompatible/defective controller on your hands.

We also have an article here on how to play Xbox games on PC with disc that might be helpful to you in the future.

How to Set Up a Wireless Xbox 360 Controller?

If you have a wireless Xbox 360 controller, and you’ve lost the receiver or if it is broken, then you’ve got several alternatives:

  • Find another receiver (used or orphaned)
  • Buy a third-party adapter
  • Buy a new Xbox Package (console)
  • Buy a third-party controller

So there’s nothing to worry about, and you’ve always got a ton of options at your disposal. So in the next section, I’ll start by showing you how to set up a wireless Xbox 360 controller using an existing stock receiver.

Setting up a stock Xbox 360 wireless receiver on Windows 8/10

If you’ve managed to snag another wireless stock receiver – or managed to recover your old one – along with Microsoft Xbox 360 package, then you can follow these simple steps to set up your wireless receiver on your Windows 10 or 8 OS.

  1. Plug the receiver into a USB port.
  2. Wait for the confirmation that will pop up after the drivers have been installed.
  3. After that, to confirm that the device is successfully installed, go to the search bar.
  4. Search for “Device Manager” and open it up.
  5. Look for “Xbox 360 wireless receiver for windows” in the devices list (it’s usually in the bottom, inside the subcategory named “Xbox 360 peripherals”)
  6. If you can find this device, then it’s been installed successfully.
  7. If not, try again with a different USB port or after restarting the PC.

Setting up a third-party Xbox 360 wireless receiver on Windows 8/10

Third-party Xbox receivers/adapters also work fine with your Xbox 360 controller, and in this section, I’m going to guide you on how to set up these third-party adapters on your PC.

  1. First off, if you’ve been provided a CD with your third-party adapter, insert the CD into your PC and install the contents of the CD, it contains the necessary drivers/instructions for your adapter to work properly.
  2. Plug the adapter into a USB port on your PC.
  3. Go to the “Device Manager.” (Follow steps 3-4 in the previous guide)
  4. Click on the “Other Devices” drop-down menu and look for an option named “Unknown Device.” (it’s supposed to be the third-party adapter)
  5. Double click on this option and a small window will pop up.
  6. Click on the “Driver” tab and then click on “Update Driver.”
  7. Another window will pop up with two options, click on “Browse My Computer For Drivers.”
  8.  After that, click on “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.”
  9. Another window will pop up, listing a ton of devices, search for “Xbox 360 peripherals” (it’s usually at the bottom of the list)
  10. A smaller list will pop up, from this list, select “Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows.”
  11. After that, click on the “Next” button and confirm your selection by clicking “Yes” on any warnings that pop up.
  12. Finally, give it a couple of seconds and the wireless receiver will be all set up.
  13. You can now follow the next guide on how to pair up your controller with this new wireless receiver.

Pairing up your Wireless Xbox 360 Controller to your PC

After you’ve set up the wireless receiver – third party or otherwise – you can follow these steps to connect your Xbox controller to your PC

  1. First, click the button on the wireless receiver (the big button on the adapter, called the “pair” button)
  2. After that, switch on your controller by pressing on the “Guide” button (the large button with the Xbox logo)
  3. Give it some time to pair up with the wireless receiver. (if you have an Xbox console, make sure to switch it off)
  4. After it has paired up with your wireless receiver the backlight will turn green and stop flashing.

Voilà! You’re all set up with your wireless Xbox 360 controller, time to start playing.

What to Look For When Buying a new Adapter/Receiver

Computer game controllers

Sometimes, the cheapest option may not be the best, and you should always do some research and find several of the available options before jumping in and spending your money.

You can follow these tips to vet the seller, especially if it’s a third-party adapter.

  • Look for an adapter that comes with a CD and a manual. As you’ve already seen in the previous guide, installing the drivers is essential when you’re dealing with third-party adapters.
  • Don’t forget to read the customer reviews, I understand that it’s only a $10-$20 product, but a dollar is a dollar, and you can always save a couple of extra bucks by doing your due research on what others – who bought the product – have to say.
  • Check if a product is “Fulfilled by Amazon” that way, you have the guarantee of being able to return the device if it’s found to be broken or fake.
  • Always check if the adapter is compatible with the Xbox 360 controller.
  • If they claim to be a Microsoft product, always make sure that the seller/store is the genuine

Here are several options for you to choose from:

Wireless Adapter by KUJOBUY: This is one of the most common third-party adapters out there on the market, the adapter is like a small mouse, with the “Pair” button on the top. There’s a 6ft USB 2.0 cable and it can pair up to 4 controllers at a range of 30ft. It also comes with a CD for the drivers/manual, and it’s got some fairly good reviews. Unfortunately, it is not “fulfilled by Amazon” so be wary of that.

FunTurbo Wireless Controller Adapter: This adapter is very versatile, as it can support the Nintendo Switch, PC, PS3, and Xbox consoles. There are some fairly good reviews and setting it up is very easy. However, you can only connect one wireless controller and one wired controller. (it’s got a USB port on it) The USB port is amazing because it helps you connect third-party controllers without the need for any special software. (such as the TocaEdit Xbox 360 Controller Emulator)

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10: The official adapter provided by Microsoft, it’s easy to use and there are no unnecessary wires. (it also provides an optional USB port extender cable) However, this product doesn’t have a lot of positive reviews, and it probably doesn’t support other consoles or third-party controllers.

So far, we’ve discussed a lot on how to connect a wireless Xbox 360 controller to your PC, let’s recap what we’ve unearthed so far.

You can connect a wireless Xbox 360 controller to your PC with help of third-party adapters, especially if you don’t own the stock receiver. However, there are some things you need to do differently to get them working. 

Setting up a “wired” Xbox 360 controller is way easier. In my opinion, wired controllers are the better option because they have reduced lag and they don’t require constant recharging.


Connecting a wireless Xbox 360 controller to your PC is not as easy when you don’t have the branded receiver provided by Microsoft. You cannot connect to the controller via Bluetooth because it uses a different wireless network. So the best way to connect your wireless controller (Xbox or third-party) is to use an adapter. There are lots of affordable third-party options out there. Unfortunately, getting them to work will not be so straightforward.

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