How to set up or install a joystick or gamepad

Updated: 10/18/2022 by Computer Hope
Logitech Freedom Joystick

Most of today's peripheral devices are plug and play, which means they find the drivers automatically when connected to a USB port. However, some joysticks or gamepads require you to install the drivers manually. Furthermore, additional software may be needed to configure the button options. Most manufacturers allow you to download the latest drivers for game controllers.

Connecting the joystick or gamepad to your computer

Wired joystick or gamepad

If your joystick or gamepad is wired, connect the USB cable to any USB port available on the computer.

USB cable and port

Wireless joystick or gamepad

If your joystick or gamepad is wireless, it should come with a USB receiver that transmits a signal to and from it. Connect that USB receiver to an available USB port on the front or back of your computer.

USB wireless receiver

After connecting the USB receiver to your computer, find the power switch on the joystick or gamepad, and flip that switch to the on position.

Installing drivers and software

Dell drivers and utilities CD

Software CD included with joystick or gamepad

  1. Insert the software CD (compact disc) into the computer's CD or DVD (digital versatile disc) drive. If the CD does not automatically run the install program, open My Computer, double-click the CD or DVD drive, and then double-click the setup.exe, install.exe, or similar file.
  2. Follow the wizard to install your joystick or gamepad drivers and associated software.

No software CD included or CD is lost

  1. Visit the manufacturer's website and download any drivers or software available for the joystick or gamepad.
  1. Navigate to the folder on your computer where the downloaded software files are located.
  1. Double-click the setup.exe, install.exe, or similar file.
  2. Follow the installation wizard steps to install the joystick or gamepad drivers and associated software.

Testing the joystick or gamepad

After the joystick or gamepad is installed, if available, open the software to customize the buttons. On a Windows computer, you can test it through the Set up USB game controllers utility. On a macOS computer, you need to download and install an app for testing a joystick or gamepad.

To open the Set up USB game controllers utility, follow the steps below.

  1. Press the Windows key, type game controller, and then select the Set up USB game controllers option in the search results.
  2. Click the name of the joystick or gamepad you want to test and click the Properties button or link.
Note

You may need to perform additional configuration steps to set up your joystick or gamepad to work with games on your computer. Check the game settings and look for the appropriate menu option.