Gamepads are an indispensable tool for gamers. They may come in a variety of names – game controller, joypad, gamepad – but they perform a single function: to connect the gamer to a console gaming system.
A gamepad consists of multiple buttons and up to two joysticks to let a user control objects in video games.
While portable gaming systems come with a built-in gamepad, some gamepads are designed to connect with a computer via a USB connection.
More tech-savvy users believe the problem is due to Microsoft replacing the original hardware drivers upon the Windows 10 installation.
Other users are reporting that the issue is due to the hardware’s driver not digitally signed. Still, others encountered the problem after switching to Windows 10 while the gamepad was plugged into the computer.
In other words, the error could have been prevented if the peripheral device was unplugged when the upgrade was being performed.
But for those who are already experiencing the issue, we will try to provide the best solutions.
What to do if USB gamepad is not recognized on PC
Many gamers prefer using gamepads on their PC, however, sometimes issues with your gamepad can occur. Speaking of gamepad problems, here are some of the common issues that users reported:
- USB gamepad not recognized Windows 10, 8, 7 – This issue can appear on any version of Windows, and even if you don’t use Windows 10, you should try some of our solutions since they are all compatible with older versions of Windows.
- Gamepad not detected Windows 10 – If your gamepad isn’t detected on Windows 10, the issue is most likely a driver. To fix the problem, update your gamepad drivers and check if that helps.
- Generic gamepad not recognized – Generic gamepads can sometimes experience this problem. To fix the problem, be sure to update their drivers from Device Manager.
- Xbox gamepad not recognized – Windows 10 is compatible with Xbox controllers, but sometimes issues can occur. We already covered Xbox controller issues on Windows 10 in one of our previous articles, so be sure to check it out for more information.
- Gamepad not working in games, PC – If you encounter this issue, it’s rather likely that your controller isn’t properly configured. In addition, the issue might also be your gamepad drivers, so keep them up to date.
- Gamepad not in Device Manager – If the gamepad isn’t in Device Manager, it’s probably not recognized by your system. To fix the issue, you need to find any Unknown devices in Device Manager and update their drivers.
Solution 1 – Run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter
An unrecognized gamepad on Windows 10 could arise due to conflicting drivers. To fix the problem, reboot the computer and plug in the gamepad. Now run Hardware and Devices troubleshooter, by doing the following:
- Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app. When Settings app opens, navigate to Update & Security section.
- Select Troubleshoot from the menu on the left. Now in the right pane select Hardware and Devices and click Run the troubleshooter button.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the troubleshooter.
Once the troubleshooter is finished, check if the problem is resolved.
Solution 2 – Download the latest gamepad driver
Sometimes, gamepads might not work with Windows 10 because the old device driver has been replaced. Downloading and installing the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website may help solve the issue.
In case no updated driver is available, try downloading and installing the available driver in Windows 8 or Windows 7 compatibility mode. This method runs the driver using the previous settings when it was working fine with Windows.
Here is a step-by-step instruction for installing the latest driver in compatibility mode:
- Download the latest driver and right-click on the setup file to locate properties.
- In the compatibility tab, click the Run this program in compatibility mode for and choose the operating system prior to your Windows 10 upgrade from the drop-down menu.
- Complete the installation process and restart the computer once this is finished.
Update drivers automatically (third-party tool suggested)
Downloading and installing drivers manually is a process that carries the risk of getting the wrong driver installed, which may lead to serious malfunctions.
We strongly suggest you update your driver automatically by using Tweakbit’s Driver Updater tool.
This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus and after several tests, our team concluded that this is the best-automatized solution. Here’s how to use this software:
- Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater
- Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
- Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.
Disclaimer: some features of this tool are not free.
Solution 3 – Unplug other devices
Windows might sometimes be unable to detect your gamepad due to an overload of devices plugged in to your machine. Try to disconnect other plug-and-play devices and see if the issue persists.
In addition, if you’re using a USB hub, be sure to disconnect your gamepad from the USB hub and connect it directly to your PC.
In some rare cases, other devices attached to your hub can interfere with your controller causing the issue to appear.
Lastly, you can also try connecting your controller to a different USB port. Your controller can’t utilize the full bandwidth of USB 3.0 port, so be sure to connect it to USB 2.0 port on your PC.
Solution 4 – Prevent the computer from automatically turning off plugged devices
If Windows still does not recognize your gamepad after performing the above steps, try preventing the system from automatically turning off specific devices.
- Open Device Manager and expand the USB Serial Bus controllers.
- Right-click the USB Root Hub and choose Properties -> Power Management and uncheck all the boxes that state Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.
Solution 5 – Disable your gamepad
If your gamepad isn’t recognized in Windows 10, you might be able to solve the problem simply by disabling and enabling your controller. This can force Windows to reinitialize the device and install the necessary drivers.
To disable your device, you just need to do the following:
- Open Device Manager and locate your gamepad.
- Right-click it and choose Disable from the menu.
- A confirmation dialog will now appear. Select Yes to disable.
- Now wait for a few moments, right-click the disabled gamepad again and choose Enable from the menu.
Once the gamepad is enabled, Windows will recognize it and try to install the necessary drivers for it.
Solution 6 – Change your plan settings
According to users, sometimes your gamepad might not be recognized on Windows 10. If that’s the case, you need to change your USB selective suspend settings.
You can do that by changing advanced settings of your power plan.
This isn’t complicated and you can do it by following these steps:
- Press Windows Key + S and enter power settings. Select Power & sleep settings from the menu.
- Now click the Additional power settings.
- Locate your selected power plan and click Change plan settings.
- Now click Change advanced power settings.
- Navigate to USB settings > USB selective suspend setting. Set it to Disabled and click Apply and OK to save changes.
After doing that, the problem with your gamepad should be resolved.
Solution 7 – Install generic USB hub drivers
If your gamepad isn’t recognized in Windows 10, the issue might be USB hub drivers.
Your PC has several built-in USB hubs, and if there are any issues with your drivers, you might encounter this problem.
However, you might be able to fix it by installing the USB hub drivers. To do that, just follow these steps:
- Open Device Manager and locate USB Root Hub device. You should have a couple of these devices on your PC.
- Right-click the USB Root Hub device and choose Update driver.
- Select Browse my computer for driver software.
- Now click on Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
- Select USB Root Hub from the list and click Next.
- Now repeat Steps 2-5 for all USB Root Hub drivers.
In addition, you can also download the necessary drivers from your motherboard manufacturer and check if they solve your problem.
Solution 8 – Reinstall your gamepad
If you have problems with your gamepad, you should try reinstalling it. Sometimes there might be a glitch with your system causing this and similar issues to appear.
However, you can fix the issue simply by reinstalling your gamepad. To do that, just follow these steps:
- Open Device Manager and locate your gamepad on the list. Right-click it and choose Uninstall device.
- When the confirmation dialog appears, click on Uninstall.
Once the driver is removed, restart your PC. After your PC restarts, Windows will install the missing drivers and the issue should be resolved.
Solution 9 – Check if your controller is working properly
If your controller isn’t recognized, it’s possible that it’s not working. Sometimes your USB cable can get broken and that can lead to this issue.
To check if your controller is working properly, we advise you to connect it to a different PC and see if it works.
If the controller works on another PC without any issues, the problem is most likely related to your system. On the other hand, if the other PC can’t recognize the controller, the issue is most likely the controller itself.
If you can, be sure to try the controller on Windows 8 or 7 PC. If the controller works on those systems, it means that the manufacturer hasn’t released a compatible Windows 10 driver.
Not being able to use your gamepad on Windows 10 can be a problem, but we hope that you solved the issue with one of our solutions.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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