The PlayStation 5’s (PS5) DualSense wireless controller includes adaptive triggers that work best with PS5 games, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work with your computer. You can pair the PS5 controller with your Windows 10 PC and play games on Steam as well.
Many would argue that the best way to play games on a PC is by using a mouse and keyboard. This combination does offer a ton of control options thanks to the number of keys on a keyboard, and using a mouse is a much better way to control first-person games and simulation titles. But controllers have their own advantages, being much simpler to use and designed to keep all the buttons and sticks right where you need them to be. You can use a controller with your PC, too, and while the Xbox Wireless Controller is often considered the best, you can also connect the PS5 DualSense controller to your PC if you want to.
The Steam client (not Windows itself) supports the DualSense controller. So, before you start, download and install Steam or update it to the latest version on your computer.
Connecting the PS5 controller to your PC
There are two ways to connect the DualSense controller to your PC. The easiest is to simply plug in using the USB Type-C port on the controller and a USB port on your PC. You just need a USB cable, which you probably already have, whether it’s from your phone or another device.
If you want to go wireless, though, the PlayStation 5 controller also supports Bluetooth so that you can connect that way. Connecting a controller this way is still fairly straightforward. Here’s how it goes:
- Open the Settings app on your PC and go to the Bluetooth & devices section (in Windows 11) or Devices (in Windows 10).
- Click Add device at the top of the page
- Choose Bluetooth in the window that pops up to start searching for devices
- Enter pairing mode on the PlayStation 5 controller by holding the PlayStation and Share buttons at the same time until the lights around the touchpad turn on.
- On your PC, the controller should appear as a Wireless controller. Select it and wait for the connection to finish.
- Now your controller is connected to your PC, but the experience isn’t exactly seamless from here. Windows is designed to specifically work with one kind of input based on the Xbox Wireless Controller, so that’s what most games support out of the box. Thankfully, there are solutions for this.
Setting up your controller with Steam
Steam is the most popular gaming platform on PC, and one of the great things it does is allow you to add various controllers that Windows doesn’t support very well out of the box, including the DualSense. You can easily set it up using Steam’s own configuration tool. That also means you can probably use the controller with most of your games since Steam has a very extensive library of titles. In fact, even non-Steam games can work this way since you can add your own games to your Steam library. If you haven’t yet, you can download Steam here.
Support for these additional controllers isn’t enabled out of the box, though. You’ll need to go into the Steam settings to enable it:
Launch Steam and, from the main window, click Steam > Settings
- Launch Steam and, from the main window, click Steam > Settings
- Open the Controller tab on the side menu bar.
- Click General controller settings.
- Enable the PlayStation configuration support option in the window that pops up.
- (Optional) You can also click Preferences here to change settings like the controller’s name, turn rumble on or off, and change light colors.
- Click Back and then OK to close the Steam settings window. Now you’re ready to configure your PlayStation controller in a game.
- Launch the game you want to play and press the PlayStation button on your controller. This will open the Steam controller configuration page, where you can assign any buttons and sticks to any action. You can even make use of the touchpad and the gyro sensor inside the DualSense, two things Xbox controllers don’t offer.
- Note: The controller configuration page may only work in Steam’s Big Picture mode. You can enter this mode before starting a game by clicking View > Big Picture Mode in the main Steam window.
Now, say you have a game installed from outside of Steam, such as from the Epic Games Store. You can still use this method to configure your PlayStation 5 controller. All you need to do is open Steam and click Games > Add a non-Steam game to My Library.
This will let you use the Steam configuration tool with almost any non-Steam game. However, there may be some exceptions, specifically Microsoft Store games. Because these games aren’t stored in user-accessible folders, they’re not as easy to add to your Steam library.
Set up your controller using DS4Windows
Another option to get your PS5 (or PS4) controller working on your Windows PC is to use an app called DS4Windows. This is specifically designed to make third-party controllers, such as the DualShock 4 and DualSense, be recognized by the computer as Xbox 360 controllers (which are fundamentally the same as the latest Xbox controllers).
Setting things up is fairly easy. You simply need to download DS4Windows from GitHub and install it. The program will install some required drivers to make your PS5 controller recognized as an Xbox controller, which may require a reboot. But once you connect your controller again, you’ll be good to go. The controls on your controller will be automatically mapped to the equivalent on Xbox. Still, you can configure different profiles, so the buttons are mapped in the most comfortable way for you.
One thing to note is that if you’re trying to use DS4Windows in Steam games, you’ll need to disable both PlayStation and Xbox controller configuration support in the Steam settings in order for things to work normally.
A few more things you need to know
Whether you’re a bigger fan of the PlayStation controller designs or you simply want to use a controller you already have, this is a great way to get a similar experience to what Xbox controllers usually offer on Windows, and it can be a much better control method for some games.
One thing you may need to look out for is that since the PlayStation 5 controller has a speaker, it can sometimes become the default audio output for Windows when you connect it, which means the audio experience won’t be great. You can use the Quick Actions panel in Windows 11 to choose a different default audio output.
If you’re looking to play the latest and greatest games on your PC, you may also want some new hardware that can handle them. Check out our list of the best gaming laptops if you want to buy a new one. And if you’d rather turn to cloud gaming, we have a more general list of the best laptops if you want something that’s not as heavy.