Is your Gamepad Controller recognized on your PC but not working in games? Several PC gamers are reporting that their controller is detected on their computer, but it is just not working while playing the games. Whenever they click on the controller and move joysticks, it is unresponsive and won’t work.
Now, the root cause of this problem can be different for individual users. It could be caused if the game doesn’t support the controller. Certain Microsoft games don’t offer direct support for game controllers. Hence, ensure that the game controller is supported by the game you are facing this issue with.
Apart from that, if there are multiple controller devices connected to your PC, it might be the case that the game has chosen an incorrect controller to play the game. So, unplug all other controllers that you have connected to your computer. Also, ensure that your controller is in proper working condition. You can test your gamepad on Windows and see if it is working fine.
- Open Run using Win+R and enter joy.cpl in it.
- Now, select your game controller and click on Properties.
- Navigate to the Test tab and follow prompted instructions to test your gamepad.
Another reason for the same issue is outdated or corrupted device drivers including USB, Bluetooth, etc. Besides that, if your game launcher or gaming client is not up-to-date or controller settings are incorrectly configured, the controller might not work due to incompatibility issues. Outdated game controller firmware, too many unused ghost devices present on your PC, and third-party software conflicts can be other reasons for this issue.
Now, if you are experiencing this problem in any of the above scenarios, you can follow the below-mentioned fixes to resolve the issue.
Controller detected but not working in Game on PC
If your Gamepad Controller is detected but still not working in games on your Windows computer, here are the solutions you can follow to fix the issue:
- Run Hardware and Devices troubleshooter.
- Reinstall the USB drivers.
- Make sure your gaming client is up-to-date.
- Uninstall ghost devices.
- Troubleshoot in a clean boot state.
- Update your Game Controller firmware.
- Contact your hardware manufacturer.
1] Run Hardware and Devices troubleshooter
The first and primary troubleshooting step to resolve this issue is to launch the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter and let it address issues related to your controller. If there are some generic issues causing the problem, Windows is likely to detect and fix them. So, run the troubleshooter and check if it helps.
Previously, you could run this troubleshooter directly from Windows Settings. But now, you need to use a specific command to run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter on the newer versions of Windows. Here’s how:
- Firstly, launch the Command Prompt window using Windows Search.
- After that, write the below command:
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
- Now, press the Enter button and it will open up a Hardware and Devices window.
- Next, in the opened window, click on the Next button. As you do that, the Windows troubleshooter will start scanning problems linked to your hardware devices.
- When done, the detected issues will be listed. You can just select a recommended solution and click on the Apply this fix option to apply it.
- Lastly, restart your computer and plug in your gamepad controller to your computer to check if the problem is resolved.
If your gaming controller is still not working even after being detected, you can move on to the next fix.
Related: Xbox Controller detected as Mouse and Keyboard on Windows PC.
2] Reinstall the USB drivers
Your USB gamepad controller might be detected but not working properly, the issue is likely to be caused due to an outdated device driver. So, update your device driver to the latest version and check if the issue is fixed. In case the problem remains the same, the installation of your drivers might be faulty or corrupted. Hence, you can uninstall and then reinstall USB drivers or controller drivers to fix the issue.
Here are the steps you can follow to do that:
- First, open the Device Manager app; hit the Win+X hotkey and choose Device Manager from the shortcut items to open it.
- After that, look for the Universal Serial Bus controllers category and expand this category.
- Now, right-click on the USB Composite device and select the Uninstall device option from the right-click context menu.
- In the next prompt, press the Uninstall button.
- Once the process is complete, reboot your computer.
- Windows will detect missing drivers on the next startup and install them.
Similarly, you can reinstall controller drivers from the Human Interface Devices category present in Device Manager. In case you are using a wireless controller, you can reinstall related drivers by expanding the Bluetooth category in Device Manager and following the above-mentioned steps.
When done, check if the “controller is detected but not working” issue is fixed or not. If not, we have explained some more working fixes to resolve it.
See: Fix Xbox One controller won’t connect to PC via Bluetooth.
3] Make sure your gaming client is up-to-date
If you are using the latest controller device but your gaming client is not up-to-date, the issue might be caused due to incompatibility issues. Hence, ensure that your game launcher is up-to-date and configurations for the controller are configured correctly. For example, if you are using Steam, make sure you are using the latest version of the Steam client.
4] Uninstall ghost devices
Another fix you can apply to resolve this issue is to remove all ghost devices from your PC. Ghost devices are previously connected devices in Windows but are disconnected now and are no longer in use. However, the devices are recorded and listed on your computer. Now, when you connect your controller, it is detected but might not work correctly due to a conflict with a ghost device. Hence, if the scenario is applicable, you can remove such devices from your PC and see if this helps.
Here’s how you can do that:
First, open Device Manager and click on the View menu from the top menubar. After that, enable the Show hidden devices option.
Next, you can uninstall ghost devices from the Human Interface Devices, Sound, video and game controllers, and Universal Serial Bus controllers categories. You can expand the category, right-click on a ghost device, press the Uninstall device option, and click on Uninstall to complete the process.
When done, you can restart your PC and then check if the problem is resolved.
Read: Steam Link not recognizing controllers in the game.
5] Troubleshoot in a clean boot state
Third-party software or services might be conflicting with the controller device which is why it is not working properly in games on your PC. So, you can restart Windows in a clean boot state and check if the issue is fixed. Here’s how you can do that:
- First, open the System Configuration window. For that, press Win+R to open the Run command box and enter MSConfig in it.
- Now, in the General tab, select the Selective startup option and untick the Load startup items checkbox.
- Then, make sure the Use original boot configuration and Load system services options are checked.
- Next, move to the Services tab and tick the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox.
- After that, press the Disable all button and hit Apply > OK to apply the settings.
You can now reboot your PC and check if the issue is fixed. If yes, you can start enabling third-party services one by one and analyze the program or service causing the issue. Once you are sure of the program that is triggering a conflict with your controller, you can uninstall the culprit program to fix the issue. In case this method doesn’t work, move on to the next solution to resolve it.
Read: Xbox Controller Bluetooth keeps disconnecting on Xbox console or PC.
6] Update your Game Controller firmware
The issue might be caused due to outdated controller firmware. So, the next thing you can do to fix this problem is to update your game controller firmware. If you are having this problem with an Xbox controller, update the firmware on your Xbox gamepad and check if the issue is gone.
TIP: How to calibrate Xbox One Controller in Windows PC?
7] Contact your hardware manufacturer
Well, if none of the above solutions helped you, we recommend you contact your controller device manufacturer. Just contact them regarding the issue you are facing and follow the shared troubleshooting guide.
You may also consider replacing the controller if it is too dated. It might also be the case that the controller is damaged which is why it is not working properly. So, the only option left is to replace the device.
Hopefully, this guide helps.
Why does Steam detect my controller but not work in game?
If Steam has recognized your controller but it is not working or is unresponsive in games, you can calibrate your Steam Controller. For that, open Steam in Big Picture Mode, click the settings icon, choose Controller settings, choose your controller under ‘Detected Controllers, and press CALIBRATE. If this doesn’t work, modify your controller configurations, relaunch Steam, unplug other controllers, and turn off external launcher overlays. You can also disable conflicting programs like Screen capture software, Skype, Skypehost, MSI Afterburner, etc.
Why is my PC not picking up my controller?
If your controller is not recognized or detected on your PC, there can be different reasons behind it. It could be due to loose connection issues or if your controller is not in proper working condition. Apart from that, outdated device drivers, your power management settings, several unused devices connected to your computer, an incompatible gamepad, and some other factors might be responsible for this issue.
Now read: Controller stuttering PC when playing games.