17 February 2011

Using an XBox 360 Controller with Media Centre on a PC

So you thought it’d be easy? Think again….

My XBox suffered the ring of death and although my ix lasted a while it has since died again. I was using it as a Media Centre Extender for my media server so its a bit of a bind. No matter I thought, I’ll use an old computer as an extender instead. I got an old laptop, put Win7 on it and that worked just fine, except I don’t have a spare wireless mouse for it so have to walk over to is and fiddle with the touchpad, yuk!

I thought I’d be able to just connect up my XBox’s controller and play TV etc but no, obviously MS want me to buy the Media Centre remote. I’m stubborn so instead I bought a wireless USB dongle to connect the controller to the PC. At first the dongle wouldn’t work, then when I got it connected it doesn’t actually ‘do’ anything, unless I load a game (e.g. minesweeper). Then I found this post. As far as I can work out you need a profiler to map the XBox controller’s keys to ‘Play’ etc.

Connecting the controller

As I mentioned, the XBox’s wireless controllers don’t natively connect to Windows, not even it seems with the USB cable. However, you can get a USB dongle (for about 10GBP). Then:

  • Manually download and install the drivers from here.
  • It still won’t work. You have to also:
    • Go to Control Panel/Device Manager (NB: NOT Devices and Printers)
    • Right click on ‘Unidentified device’ and ‘Update Driver’
    • Select ‘Browse specific location’
    • Select ‘Let me pick'…
    • Select ‘Microsoft Common Controller…’
    • Select XBox 360 Wireless receiver for Windows

Mapping the Keys

Once connected it seems you need to map the controller’s keys to computer inputs (mouse click etc.). I tried ControlMK but couldn’t get it to work. I’ll update if I find something that does work.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks yes http://xpadder.com/ does appear to be a solution. I've got another replacement XBox now but I'll look into it. I'm still amazed MS haven't included support natively.