I'm getting seriously confused with this. I don't own an Xbox, but I have started to play games on Steam a lot more, and some of them really need a controller. The Xbox one seems to be the "officially supported" one, or at least recommended one.

Trouble is, there seem to be so many different versions of the damn things! And Microsoft's websites are useless and won't even provide product model numbers.

I have the following questions:

  1. What's the difference between the Xbox and Windows versions?
  2. What's the difference between wired and wireless (seems obvious, but...)
  3. Can I the Xbox wired controller on Windows?
  4. What about the wireless one? Do I need an adapter? Is this all the Windows one is, an Xbox one with a bundled adapter?
  5. There seems be loads of different generations. Is this just for Xbox ones, or the same with Windows ones? How do you tell the difference? Is it important?
  6. Is the headset thing available on all? What's it for, can I plug in headphone to play all audio output through them? Or is it just a mono thing for chat only? If so, is it pointless to get a headset if you have a bluetooth headset anyway, or will I have to use the controller adapter?

So to have so many questions, I can't think of a way of phrasing it better.

  • See here for a similar question.
    – MBraedley
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 1:09
  • You don't need the ones from Microsoft. You only need a controller that is compatible with XInput, they work the very same way. I use a Logitech F510 for example and it works with every game. Additionally it can even be switched to DInput mode. So if you rather have a playstation like controller or any other - just make sure it supports XInput.
    – user28015
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 13:01

3 Answers 3


Your summed up question: What do you need to use a 360 controller on a PC and is there any difference in wired vs wireless?

My summed up answer:

If you are going with wired controllers then you just need the controller. They connect to PC and the Console via a USB cable.

If you are connecting wireless then you need a receiver for your computer. These come in the Controllers marked for Windows (they contain a controller, receiver and batteries). Only one receiver is needed for up to 4 controllers to be connected at once. I have quite a few controllers for the 360 and they all work with the wireless receiver I got a couple of weeks ago. Even my special edition controllers for Fable and Halo 4.

Hope this helps

  • This helps a lot, I think I want an XBOX Wireless one, because then I don't have to have black... but I don't get how you tell which is which gen (or even know the differences, or if it matters)
    – stuffe
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 0:53
  • I do not think the generation matters, but remember if you go Wireless you -need- that receiver for windows.
    – James
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 1:21

The Xbox 360 Controller for Windows is just a normal wireless controller packaged with a wireless-to-USB receiver. This is what you'll find in stores in the PC gaming hardware section.


It is also possible to build a wireless receiver for less than 3$ by yourself. check my videos under:


  • 1
    Can you summarise the contents of these videos? If they were to disappear this answer would become useless.
    – fredley
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 14:26
  • Sure, these videos serve as POC for a selfmade XBox360 Wireless Receiver. the original product from Microsoft costs about 30$, this will be built for less than 3$ and works as well as original product. google for SyncRF360 or see this page for example (that I've found): picproje.org/index.php?topic=35658.0
    – nicmon
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 16:40

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