How To: Setup A PS4 Controller For PC Gaming

| Last Updated: May 24, 2021

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Most of the PC population can tell you the benefits of using a keyboard and mouse to play games. Games such as the Elder Scrolls and the Counter Strike series just feel more natural with the use of mice for aiming and keyboard hotkeys.

That said, not every game benefits from this control scheme, especially if you want to play games that are console ports or emulators of old games. For these games, you may generally want to use a controller for gameplay.

While most wired Xbox 360s and Xbox Ones are easy to plug and play on PC, with the two consoles being made by Microsoft, some people prefer the setup of the Playstation controller. If you happen to be one of these people, then you will want to keep reading this piece, as we discuss the methods to use in order to get a Playstation 4 controller up and running on your PC or laptop.

Unlike the aforementioned Xbox controllers, getting a PS4 controller working on the computer isn’t as simple as plugging the controller into your computer’s USB port and installing the drivers from the device. As such, you will want to use the following methods in order to properly use your PS4 controller and get yourself gaming.

Using a PS4 Controller With Steam-Based Games

In direct contradiction to my above statement, using your PS4 controller through games available on the Steam service is very simple.

To start, you will obviously need to load up the Steam service. After doing so, you will need to update Steam to the latest possible version, which allows support for Playstation 4 controllers. As a result, games with controller support will now show prompts for PS4 controls in menus, and you should be allowed to customize your controls as you please.

Not only can you use the controller in games, but Steam also allows for users to control some of the program options with the controller. This includes bringing up the in-game Steam menu by pressing the “Share” button on the controller, as well as being able to control Steam’s “Big Picture Mode” when playing games on the television.

Everything’s Not Perfect When Using Steam’s Beta PS4 Support Though

There are a few notes as it concerns using the PS4 controller through Steam. To start, Steam support for PS4 controls are still in Beta phase, and as such, some bugs may exist that can cause issues with controllers. While it may not eliminate all issues, updating any game where you plan to use the controller may help solve any bugs.

The other issue is that, as of now, this controller support assumes that you are using a wired connection to your controller. While not much of an issue, you may wish to use your controller wirelessly through Bluetooth. If this is the case, or if you wish to use the PS4 Controller for games outside of Steam, then you will need to download a program known as “DS4 Windows”.

Downloading, Installing, and Using DS4 Windows

To obtain the DS4 Windows program, which allows you to use your PS4 DuelShock 4 controller for emulators and other non-Steam games, you need to go to the DS4 windows website at this link. From here, click on the “Download Now” option, and choose a place to save the DS4 Windows install tool.

The file will download as a .zip folder, so you’ll need a place to extract the files. For this, you can either create your own folder to extract the files to, or extract the files to a copy of the .zip folder.

Once the files are extracted, you will see two executable (program) files: DS4updater.exe and DS4windows.exe. For now, you will want to open the latter of these options, DS4windows.exe, by double-clicking on the file.

This will open up a window for first time users, asking you to choose a location for your profile and settings data to be saved. You can either store this information in the default “Appdata” location, or wherever you feel would be best for you to access the data. After making these selections, you will see a separate window to install drivers for the PS4 controller.

Here, you will see two options available for install. The first of these options is to “Install the DS4 Driver”. This is the option you want to choose if you are running any operating systems later than Windows 8. If you happen to be running any older OS, such as Windows 7 or XP, then you will want to choose the second option available to you by clicking the “Install 360 Drivers” option.

After the drivers are installed, Windows should automatically detect your PS4 controller when it is connected to your PC via USB cable, and you should be ready to go!

How To Connect a PS4 Controller Wirelessly Via Bluetooth Using DS4 Windows

Some of you may want to use your PS4 controller wirelessly. To do this, you first need to make sure that your PC or laptop is capable of Bluetooth connection, as this is how the PS4 controller connects wirelessly. If your computer doesn’t have this option built in, this is an easy enough fix, as there are many cheap external Bluetooth options available for purchase online.

Once you ensure that you are able to connect your controller, it’s time to actually do it. First, hold the “PS” and “Share” button on your controller until the light bar on the top of the controller starts to flash. Next, you need to find your Bluetooth options on your computer, which can be in different locations depending on your OS. To make it easier to find the Bluetooth options, go to your start menu/taskbar and search for “Bluetooth”.  Once you find and open this menu, click “Bluetooth”, and then “Wireless controller”.

Your controller should then sync up with your computer. If this is not the case, you may need to put in a pairing code, which in this case should be “0000”. If, for whatever reason, both these methods didn’t work, you may need to update your drivers by using the “DS4updater” executable mentioned above, which should fix any unforeseen issues.


Please keep in mind that these above guidelines are for getting a Playstation Dualshock 4 controller working on the PC. For using an older, PS3 Dualshock 3 controller on the PC, different methods must be used from the ones above.

With all the knowledge above in your hands, you should be able to use your PS4 controller on your computer in no time. We hope this article was helpful to you, and thanks for reading.

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