How to Use an Xbox 360 Controller on a Microsoft Surface

Looking to unlock the full gaming potential of your Microsoft Surface? Luckily for you, since both the Surface and the Xbox are made by Microsoft, you can use wireless Xbox gaming controllers with your Surface tablet. The steps below will explain how to do so.

Step 1: To do this, you will need both a wireless Xbox 360 controller and a USB PC receiver/adapter for a wireless Xbox 360 controller. Both can be purchased on for less than $50 total.

Step 2: Plug the USB adapter into the USB port of your Surface tablet then open settings on your device. You should see an unknown device in the “Devices” list complete with a message telling you that the device is not compatible with your version of Windows. Don’t worry, this is normal.

Step 3: Direct your tablet to the desktop view mode, and open the “Device Manager.” You should see the unknown device in the list of devices under “Other Devices.” Double tap the unknown device. A properties menu will open up with an option to “Update Driver.” Tap that button, select “Browse my computer for driver software,” and choose “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.”

Step 4: On the list that opens, scroll to the bottom and select “Xbox 360 Peripherals.” Choose the bottom driver for a Wireless Receiver, then tap “Next.” Approve your choice to start the installation.


The above steps will make it possible to use a wireless Xbox 360 controller with your tablet. When you go back to the settings menu, you will see that the controller is now recognized. Once you turn on the controller, you should have no problem using it for apps and games on your Surface!