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While playing a game with the XBox 360 wireless controller on PC many games will intermittently get paused and-or alt-tab to the desktop. This doesn't happen when playing with the keyboard and mouse.

Games that I've had this problem with:

  • Monaco: pauses the game and alt-tabs to desktop
  • Crawl: brings up the pause menu
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: pauses the game, and if full screen, resets it to windowed mode
  • Crypt of the Necrodancer: pauses the game and alt-tabs to desktop
  • Mortal Kombat X: pauses and alt-tabs to desktop

Running on 64-bit Windows 8, with all official hardware and drivers.

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    Have you tried reinstalling the controller driver? – jimmyplaysdrums Apr 28 '15 at 1:09
  • Good question. I uninstalled the driver, rebooted the machine, and was able to reproduce the problem, so it looks like that's not it. Interestingly, I wasn't able to reproduce the problem in Crypt of the Necrodancer with the controller on and connected but while playing with the keyboard. It seems like the problem only occurs when actually playing with a controller. – Peter Burns Apr 28 '15 at 4:40
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    @PeterBurns - By any chance are you playing with keyboard buttons mapped? i.e. it could be that a certain combination of buttons (set at the OS level) are being counted as 'pressed' when tapping away on the controller – Robotnik Apr 28 '15 at 5:49
  • No keyboard buttons mapped, this is the stock configuration. Joy2key and the rest have never been installed on this machine. – Peter Burns Apr 28 '15 at 5:58
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This is quite an unusual behavior you got there.

At first it looked like your controller is somehow mapped to ALT+TAB when you're trying to use it. And it is good that you described how Ori and The Blind Forest react to your controller, because this game works as usual when you ALT+TAB, but when the game lose focus to some other process or window - it goes windowed mode. So, pushing from that fact I can assume that your controller triggers something in Windows, which it, for sure, should not do.

So, here's what can possibly be wrong:

  • You have a fake controller. They appear from time to time even in huge stores with high reputation, because guys from China really mastered doing authentic-looking controllers (same problem with DualShock), sometimes you can't tell it's fake until you disassemble it. So, if no warranty (if you have some; if you do - bring it to service) will be voided upon opening it you should try it and compare with official repair guides if the inner part of looks like original one.
  • There's something on your PC that reacts to controller due to which games lose focus. You should check Windows Process Explorer if there's any unknown processes there. You can also check the process file Right-clicking it and opening containing folder. Also, try to reboot your PC, then open up PE and try connecting and pushing buttons on your controller to see, if there're some changes in processes.
  • You've mentioned that you've completely reinstalled your drivers, but still the problem may be here. Though I can't figure out what to do with it.
  • And, finally, you actually HAVE some button-mapping software (or driver) on your PC not knowing about it.

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