How to Use a PlayStation Controller on PC (PS4/PS5)
When a keyboard and mouse just won't cut it, you can use your PlayStation controller on your PC and start gaming in no time. Whether you have a PS4 or PS5 controller, we'll guide you through setting one up.
DualShock 4 PS4 Controller on Windows
If you don't have an Xbox controller, fear not: your trusty PS4 controller is an excellent alternative for PC gaming.
The main difference is that Xbox controllers use XInput drivers that Windows recognizes natively, while DualShock 4 relies on DirectInput drivers that lack Windows support. So, using a PS4 controller is more complex than plugging your Xbox gamepad in. But it's not a lot more complicated.
There are two ways to connect your PS4 controller to your PC:
- Wired connection via a micro-USB cable with Steam or DS4 Windows Utility
- Wirelessly via Bluetooth
How to connect PS4 controller to PC
You can connect your PS4 controller using a micro-USB cable (the cable used to charge the controller) or the official Sony Bluetooth adapter through either:
- DS4 Windows Utility
- Dualshock 4 PS4 controller
- A micro-USB or type c cable
- Sony Dualshock 4 USB wireless Bluetooth adapter (optional)
1) Connect PS4 controller to PC via Steam
You can connect your PS4 controller through your Steam account.
- Connect your PS4 controller to your PC using the micro-USB cable. Ensure the controller's backlight is visible, which indicates a connection.
- Open the Steam App.
- Go to Steam > Settings in the top left dropdown.
- Under the Controller tab, click Controller Settings.
- Check the PlayStation Configuration Support option.
- Steam should automatically recognize your controller. Click on it when it appears at the bottom of the Controller Settings page.
- On the Controller Settings page, you can register your controller to your account to save settings across all your logged-in PCs.
DualShock 4 controllers can be finicky at times, so if you experience connectivity problems, try restarting Steam or switching to a USB 2.0 port.
2) Connect PS4 controller to PC via DS4Windows
If you want to play non-Steam games, DS4Windows lets you use your PS4 wired controller. It's an open-source input mapper and virtual emulator that adds PlayStation controller support to Windows 10 and 11. It remaps your PS4 controller to an Xbox configuration, tricking your PC into recognizing it as an Xbox controller.
The steps are more complex than Steam and involve installing third-party software.
- Install Microsoft's latest .NET Software. You'll need to install either the 32-bit or 64-bit version by checking which version of Windows you are running.
- Download the latest file on the DS4Windows Github account.
- Under the Assets header, you must download either the 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) zip file corresponding to the Windows version you run.
- Extract the .zip to a folder you'll remember.
- After extraction, open the folder location and double-click DS4Windows. If asked to confirm that you want to run the program, click Run.
- When prompted to select a file location, choose Appdata if you don't have a preference or Program Folder or if you want to specify a location.
- Click the Install the DS4 Driver button to allow the software to install. If prompted whether you'd like to install the software, click Install.
- Open the Settings tab in DS4Windows and check the Hide DS4 Controller box to prevent conflicts with the default game controller settings. Also, set Use Xinput Ports to one for the same reason.
- You can now use the PS4 controller with a micro-USB cable.
If there are problems recognizing the device, restart your computer first.
DS4Windows reads your DualShock 4 as an Xbox 360 controller, so the correct Square/X/Triangle/Circle button icons won't work in most games. However, the controller will work with any game that supports Xinput.
3) Wirelessly connect your PS4 controller to PC via Bluetooth
If your PC supports Bluetooth, you can connect your PS4 controller wirelessly.
- Search for Bluetooth in the Windows Search menu.
- Choose Bluetooth and other devices settings from the search results.
- Enable Bluetooth by setting the Bluetooth toggle to On.
- Hold down your controller's Playstation and Share buttons until the backlight begins to flash. The share button is just to the left of the touchpad.
- On your PC, tap the Add Bluetooth or other device option and choose Bluetooth.
- You'll see your controller listed as Wireless Controller. Click it to finalize the connection. If prompted for a passcode, enter 0000.
- To save time reconnecting your controller, leave the adapter plugged in so it can remember its last connection. You can quickly re-pair your controller with your PC by tapping the central PlayStation button.
How to use your PS5 DualSense controller on a PC
Connecting your DualSense controller to your computer through wired or Bluetooth is simple and you can play Steam or non-Steam games.
- DualSense PS5 controller
- USB-C to USB-A cable or USB-C to USB-C cable
1) Connect PS5 controller to PC via USB
To connect your PS5 controller to your PC:
- Plug the USB Type-C end into the DualSense, as if you will charge it, but place the USB Type-A end into your PC's USB-A ports.
- If your PC has a dedicated USB-C port, you can connect via a USB-C to a USB-C cable.
- Windows should detect the controller automatically.
2) Connect PS5 controller to PC via Bluetooth
If you want to connect to your PS5 controller via Bluetooth, follow these steps:
- In Windows, navigate to Settings > Bluetooth & Devices.
- Enable Bluetooth by setting the Bluetooth toggle to On.
- Click Add device.
- Choose Bluetooth.
- Hold down your controller's Playstation and Share buttons until the backlight begins to flash quickly.
- Click Wireless Controller from the Bluetooth list of devices.
- The PS5 controller will now connect to your PC. Once you select your controller, it will stop flashing.
- Click Done.
The DualSense is accessible in Windows via its DirectInput driver but may be limited without XBox's XInput support for many PC games. That's where Steam comes in.
3) Play Steam games on your PC with your PS5 controller
Here are the steps to set up the DualSense controller in Steam:
- Connect your PS5 controller to your PC via USB or Bluetooth.
- Launch Steam.
- Click Settings > Controller.
- Click General Controller Settings.
- Ensure PlayStation Configuration Support is enabled.
- Enable Desktop Configuration to check and customize the button layout. The DualSense should now be recognized and listed as a PlayStation 5 controller, with key binds automatically configured to mimic an Xbox controller layout.
- Choose Calibrate to adjust joystick sensitivity. Preferences to enable/disable rumble, set the LED color and brightness, and give the controller a name.
- Press the PlayStation logo button on the controller in any Steam game to access Steam's controller configuration screen.
- You can customize the controller from the Desktop Configuration screen by swapping button bindings and configuring the gyroscope for aiming. You can also configure Action Sets and Action Layers to enable different button bindings and switch to them in-game.
- You can leave the settings unchanged if you want to use the DualSense as a regular gamepad.
4) How to Use a PS5 Controller with Non-Steam Games
Steam's Controller Configurator can add any non-Steam game to your Steam list.
- Click Library from Steam's home screen.
- Click the Add a Game
- Tap Add a Non-Steam Game
- Find the game's executable file .exe in the list or by hitting Browse.
- Check the box next to your game and click Add Selected Programs.
With these steps, you can also use DS4Windows to connect your DualSense to non-Steam games:
- Connect your PS5 controller to your computer via USB or Bluetooth.
- Open DS4Windows to pair the device. See the steps above for installing it.
- WithDS4Windows, you can customize your key binds, change the LED settings, and monitor your battery level.
- DS4Windows supports any PC game with Xbox controller support.
Now that your PS4 and PS5 controllers are set up, you can enjoy a more immersive PC gaming experience. Ditch your keyboard and mouse and game with the trusty familiarity of your PlayStation controller. Happy gaming!
Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.