I have installed my drivers and paired the device up to the computer. I have given it a quick run through on Steam Big Picture mode to make sure it's all working and behaving as I'd expect it to, but now I need to spend time doing something else. I have exited Big Picture mode but my Wireless Xbox 360 Controller for Windows has remained powered and doesn't seem to want to switch itself off.

I have tried holding down the Guide button in the middle of the controller, which is how I switched it on in the first place, but this doesn't appear to do anything. I also can't find any other buttons on the controller that would seem to affect whether the controller is powered or not.

How can I turn off a Wireless Xbox 360 Controller for Windows?


6 Answers 6


If you're playing a 'Games for Windows Live' enabled game, you should be able to shut it off through the fancy Windows Live menu that appears get when you press and hold the Guide button (the big green X in the center).

If you're not playing a Windows Live, enabled game, it looks like you're out of luck; the only way to shut off your controller short of popping the batteries out is to leave it inactive for a period of time (reports online vary; anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes seems to cover the range).

However, you're not the only one who has been annoyed by this, it seems. I found a free utility for Windows that appears to give you some extra functionality when you press and hold the Guide button, and it allows you to shut off your controller through a brand new dialog box.

Fancy-pants dialog box for powering off your controller

Check it out: Xbox 360 Controller Manager

Note: The english description is below the Hungarian one on the linked website.

  • This works perfectly - one note is you need to hold the guide button rather than press it, pressing it brings up the battery status.
    – kalina
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 19:17
  • 1
    Holding it to get the power off menu is how it works on the Xbox 360 as well. Excellent.
    – GnomeSlice
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 20:25
  • This is excellent. I'll have to download it when I get home.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 21:57
  • Actually....If you install the drivers for the wireless reciever you are able to hold the guide button and turn off the controller. You don't need third-party software.
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 11:44
  • 3
    Since you mentioned you're using Big Picture mode, it should be noted that this interferes with Big Picture's functionality of holding down the guide button for 5 seconds to automatically launch Big Picture from anywhere on the desktop (as long as Steam is currently running, e.g. in the tray). Myself, I just pop the battery pack out for a second, and pop it back in. It can immediately be turned back on by holding the guide button (as though it powered down normally), no re-pairing required, and it saves an enormous amount of battery life.
    – Mejwell
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 15:39

Try this alternative application: https://sourceforge.net/projects/turnoffxboxcontroller/

From it's sourceforge description:

This program have only one function. Double click it and all Xbox Controllers will be turned off.

Program have no dialogs or settings. It don't required administrator rights. It don't running as service or startup application, after turning off controller program will exit itself.

You can add shortcut to desktop and configure hot key to turn off your controller.

Examining the source files leaves us with no doubts, its an elegant and simple solution.

#include "windows.h"
#include "xinput.h"

#pragma comment(lib, "XInput.lib")

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
    HINSTANCE hXInputDLL = LoadLibraryA("XInput1_3.dll");
    if (hXInputDLL == NULL)return 1;

    for(short i=0; i<4; ++i)
        XINPUT_STATE state;
        memset(&state, 0, sizeof(XINPUT_STATE));
            typedef DWORD (WINAPI* XInputPowerOffController_t)(DWORD i);
            XInputPowerOffController_t realXInputPowerOffController=(XInputPowerOffController_t) GetProcAddress(hXInputDLL, (LPCSTR) 103);
        ZeroMemory(&state, sizeof(XINPUT_STATE));
    return 0;
  • 2
    This is great -- and works with Windows 10, unlike the XBox 360 Controller Manager solution ( which was excellent on previous versions but doesn't seem to work anymore ). Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 20:20

Xbox 360 Controller Manager solves the problem.

...you can power off the wireless Xbox 360 controller with the long press of the Guide button at the center of the controller. Long press of the Guide button will popup the following message.

The app is only 343KB.


With the controller turned on, turn the controller sideways so that the triggers are facing your palm, then "pinch" it on the Guide button (thumb) and the battery holder (index finger) at the same time. Make sure you press on the middle of the battery holder.

pinch points

This turns off both of my Wireless XBox 360 Controllers for Windows on Windows 10 without an external application. It doesn't matter whether Steam is running or not. I'm not sure whether this is OS/driver dependent. It is probably a hardware feature. If you take a closer look at the battery pack, there appears to be some sort of a switch on it.

I found this out the hard way by experimenting. Have had these controllers for years and always just left them to shutdown via timeout.

Unfortunately I appear to be the single person online that is turning the controller off this way. Most solutions suggest installing third party software. I'd be interested to know whether this works for other systems (it could be that both of my controllers are simply bugged).

Edit: I still have and use these controllers often. You don't have to use the "pinch" described above to make it work. It suffices to apply pressure to the battery pack/holder, which cuts off power to the device. I've used them on non-Windows platforms (e.g.: Nintendo Switch via an adapter) and it shuts them off regardless. They don't even have to be connected to anything. Probably a (useful) design flaw.

  • that "switch" is just the connecting lead; pretty sure all you're doing is moving the leads enough to break the power connection.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 4:24
  • @KutuluMike, you are probably right and this is just a design flaw. Pressure only needs to be applied to the bottom part of the controller (upper red dot in my image) and they shut off.
    – predi
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 11:35

There isn't any way that I have found besides popping the batteries out and putting them back in. It's very annoying, and causes the batteries to run down far too fast.

  • Does it switch off by itself eventually? Will removing the batteries cause me to have to re-pair it every time I want to use it?
    – kalina
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 17:46
  • I don't believe so. I can't remember it ever doing so. No, you won't have to re-pair it.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 17:48
  • 2
    This discussion seems to indicate that after a period of inactivity (15-20 minutes according to the poster) the controller will shut itself off.
    – GnomeSlice
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 18:15
  • Hmm... maybe I just wasn't ever patient enough to wait that long. Well, either way, this is the only way to manually turn it off.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 18:17
  • The controller will turn off by itself eventually if it isn't used, I've never timed it but it's at least 10 minutes of inactivity.
    – Dan C
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 19:21

There are two ways:

  • Turn off your computer
  • Get the battery pack or charging pack out.

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