The DualShock 4 controller, originally designed for the Sony PlayStation 4, can also be used with Windows PC games. PCs offer considerable power and flexibility, making it relatively straightforward to use the DualShock 4 controller on your gaming PC. Below, we’ll guide you through the process of connecting a DualShock 4 controller to your PC:
Connecting the DualShock 4 to Your PC
There are two primary methods for connecting a DualShock 4 controller to your gaming PC: wired and wireless. Setting up these connections differs somewhat from the process on a PlayStation 4 console.
- Connect your DualShock 4 controller to a USB port on your PC using a USB-to-micro-USB cable. This establishes the physical connection between the controller and the PC, and we’ll discuss further configuration steps shortly.
- Ensure that your DualShock 4 controller is turned off (indicated by the deactivated light bar). Then, press and hold the PlayStation and Share buttons simultaneously for approximately three seconds. The light bar will start flashing rapidly.
- Access the Bluetooth menu on your PC through the system tray.
- Click on “Add Bluetooth or other device.”
- Select “Bluetooth.”
- Choose the DualShock 4 controller from the list that appears.
Configuring the DualShock 4 on Your PC
Simply connecting the controller is only the initial step due to the way the DualShock 4 communicates with your PC. Most modern Windows games rely on Microsoft’s XInput interface, which is designed to process inputs from Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers.
However, the DualShock 4 doesn’t transmit XInput commands, necessitating the use of a wrapper to translate its inputs into a format that your PC can readily understand. Two recommended options for this purpose are DS4Windows and Steam’s controller compatibility settings.
Using DS4Windows (Comprehensive Method)
DS4Windows, a freeware program maintained by Ryochan7 on Github, essentially convinces your PC that the DualShock 4 controller is an Xbox 360 gamepad. Here’s how to set it up:
- Install the .NET 6.0 Desktop Runtime, which can be found on DS4Windows’ GitHub page.
- Download the DS4Windows x64 zip file from the Github page. While there is an automatic Windows installer available, it may still prompt .NET runtime errors even after you’ve installed the runtime.
- Open DS4Windows.exe from the unzipped directory.
- If prompted to install .NET runtime, select “Yes” and follow the instructions to ensure proper functionality of DS4Windows.
- Choose which controllers you want DS4Windows to support. By default, only the DualShock 4 is selected, but you can configure it to work with PlayStation 5 DualSense controllers and Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons.
- Click “Install ViGEmBus Driver.”
- Follow the steps in the driver installer. This installs a versatile gamepad driver on your system, enabling DS4Windows to function with the DualShock 4 controller.
- Click “Install HidHide Driver.”
- Follow the instructions in the driver installer. This installs an optional driver that hides the DualShock 4’s DirectInput gamepad connection from Windows, allowing it to accept only converted XInput inputs through DS4Windows. This helps prevent a common “double gamepad” error.
- Click “Finished.”
- Connect your DualShock 4 controller to your PC.
The controller should appear under the Controllers tab. Wait for all the necessary drivers to load. Once Windows indicates that it has connected a new Xbox 360 controller, you’re ready to start gaming!
By default, the DualShock 4 controller emulates an Xbox 360 controller, with the touchpad functioning as a mouse. However, DS4Windows offers extensive customization options. Click the Profiles tab and double-click the Default profile (or create your own) to access various settings. Here, you can remap physical controls, configure the touchpad and motion controls, adjust rumble settings, fine-tune the analogue sticks’ dead zones and movement curves, and even change the light bar’s colour.
DS4Windows provides numerous additional options that can enhance your DualShock 4 experience on PC. In most cases, you won’t need to delve into these settings, as most games will function correctly following the initial setup.
Using Steam (A Potentially Easier Method)
If you primarily play games through Steam, you can make the DualShock 4 controller work with a quick adjustment:
- Go to Steam’s Settings menu (accessible under Steam on the taskbar).
- Select the Controller menu.
- Click on “General Controller Settings.”
- Check the box labeled “PlayStation Configuration Support.” Note that if you choose to use this method, you should disable DS4Windows, and vice versa. Running both DS4Windows and Steam’s compatibility mode simultaneously can cause complications.
- Connect the DualShock 4 controller to your PC.
It’s important to note that Steam’s compatibility with the DualShock 4 can be inconsistent, and this method may not work with non-Steam games. Therefore, you might have better results by using DS4Windows and disabling Steam’s compatibility mode. If you own a Steam Deck, the compatibility mode might be your only option without extensive software adjustments (such as installing Windows on the Linux-based system).
For more information on choosing the right controller for your PC, please refer to our guide. If you’re a multi-console gamer, we also provide instructions on connecting your Nintendo Switch and Xbox controllers to your PC. Additionally, if you want to use the advanced PlayStation controller for PC gaming, you can consult our guide on connecting the DualSense controller to a PC.