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I'm planning buying a wired USB Xbox 360 controller, but I would like to know a bit more about it before actually buying.

Most (all?) USB controllers identify themselves as USB HID (Human Interface Device), which allows them to be auto-configured and work right away, without installing any drivers. It also has the advantage that USB HID devices will (or should) work on any operating system.

But how about the Xbox 360 controller?

  • Does it identify itself as USB HID?
  • Does it work on Windows without the need of special drivers? (or did Microsoft "cheat" a little by shipping the driver together with Windows?)
  • Does it work out-of-the-box on Linux and Mac OS X?

EDIT: Okay, I've bought the controller. Some additional info:

  • The controller uses a vendor-specific (0xff) device-class, which means it requires drivers in order to work.
  • It works out-of-the-box on Windows 7 and Linux. It requires drivers on Mac OS X and Windows XP. See the answer below for more information.
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  • See gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/12954/…
    – ChrisF
    Feb 10, 2011 at 11:36
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    Not an exact duplicate, actually, as that other question only covers Windows. However, it does get us part of the answer. :)
    – Shaun
    Feb 10, 2011 at 16:02
  • @Shaun - which was why I just said "see" rather than "duplicate" ;)
    – ChrisF
    Feb 10, 2011 at 19:17

3 Answers 3

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In Windows it works out of the box, but if you install this software the Xbox 360 will display a battery indicator on the screen.

In Ubuntu, the Xbox 360 controller works flawlessly with xpad. (I've tried this successfully with a wireless controller)

In Mac, I've found a driver here, but I haven't tried it because I don't own a Mac myself.

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    On my Mac, I've always used the software package you linked to. It works just fine. :)
    – Brant
    Feb 10, 2011 at 20:05
  • Battery indicator? I'm talking about the wired USB version! Still, it's nice to know it will work out-of-the-box on Windows. Feb 11, 2011 at 7:41
  • Can someone confirm if wired controllers also work with xpad driver on Linux? I ask it because I looked at the source code and I couldn't find any mention of the wired version of Microsoft 360 controller, only the wireless. lxr.linux.no/#linux+v2.6.37/drivers/input/joystick/xpad.c#L113 Feb 11, 2011 at 7:53
  • @Denilson the website I linked to mentions that it should work (Ubuntu now includes the xpad kernel module with support for the Xbox™ controller and Xbox 360™ (wired/wireless) controller)
    – bbonamin
    Feb 11, 2011 at 12:25
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    Alright, I missed it! The "wired" version is defined at line 160 of that source-code file. The vendor/product ids are: 0x045e, 0x028e. Feb 12, 2011 at 3:43
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For Mac OS X you will have to download one of the open-source drivers to get all of the features of the controller. As I recall, that was my experience on my Mac. I just double checked, I don't have the driver on anymore so I can't say which version I used (it probably was lost when I did a clean install of a new OS).

Linux will depend on what distribution you have.

Edit: The driver I used before was probably the tattiebogle driver.

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If you have a XBox 360 wireless controller you would need the USB cable receiver that communicates back to the controller and your PC.

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    This question is clearly about the wired version, no wireless receiver needed. Feb 10, 2011 at 19:15
  • ah doh! Didn't realize that. Thanks for correcting me. :)
    – Valien
    Feb 16, 2011 at 19:41

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