How to calibrate a PS or Xbox controller in Windows 10

All gamers know the importance of maintaining their gear, including making sure their controllers are in top condition. Some problems can often prevent you from aiming or even moving, as competitive shooters require the most precise actions. Luckily, there are ways to reset the controller axes in Windows 10.

If you want to know how to calibrate a controller in Windows 10, this article will help you. There are many options to follow. We will also answer some burning questions you may have.

How to calibrate a PS or Xbox controller in Windows 10

All Windows 10 PCs come with the Calibration Tool. It works with all USB controllers including PlayStation and Xbox controllers. You can even use it for your Nintendo Switch Pro controller if you like.

Before we move on to the steps, let’s try one more thing.

Reset controller calibration to default

This method is great for solving small problems. Basically, it updates the controller’s calibration, just like you refresh a broken or slow web page in your browser. The steps are extremely simple and you can complete this entire process in less than a minute.

Here are the steps to reset the controller calibration:

  1. Make sure your controller is connected and readable by your Windows 10 PC.

  2. Go to “Devices and Printers” settings.

  3. Find your controller and right click it. Select “Game Controller Settings” from the drop-down menu.

  4. Select “Properties” in the new window.

  5. On the Settings tab, select Restore Defaults.

  6. When you’re done, select “OK” to finish.

  7. Do the same for the original controller window.

  8. Your controller should now be factory calibrated and you can close Devices and Printers if you wish.

This quick fix effectively eliminates weird sensitivity and calibration settings. However, sometimes this may not work. If the quick reset method doesn’t work, you can try the next method.

Calibrate the game controller with the calibration tool

The calibration tool will securely get your controller back in shape. This process takes longer as you will have to follow the instructions. However, the tool will tell you what to do.

This is how you use the calibration tool to manually calibrate your game controller:

  1. Go to Devices and Printers.

  2. Find your controller on the hardware.
  3. Right-click on the controller and select Game Controller Settings.

  4. Make sure you have selected the correct controller and then select “Properties”.

  5. Click the “Settings” tab in the new window.

  6. Select Calibrate.

  7. The calibration tool will launch and just click “Next” to get started.

  8. Keep the D-pad (Xbox) or left thumb (PS) centered and press any button.

  9. Move the D-pad (Xbox) or Left Stick (PS) to all four corners, and then press any button.

  10. Repeat step 8.
  11. Move the triggers up and down as far as they will go, and then press any button.
  12. Move the right stick left and right on the controller all the way, and then press any button.
  13. Do the same for the right thumb up and down.
  14. When you’re done, select Done to complete the process.

  15. Check if everything works.
  16. Select “Apply” and “OK” when done.

  17. Select “OK” for the original controller settings window.

  18. Now you can start playing games.

Manual calibration can solve problems that a reset cannot solve. Usually your controller will be as good as new after recalibration.

If you want to know how to calibrate using Steam, please see the next section.

Calibrate your game controller using Steam

Did you know that Steam has its own controller calibration feature? It’s more detailed and even allows you to customize dead zones. You can even fine-tune the controller settings for each game, even if the game doesn’t support USB controllers.

Here’s how to perform basic calibration on Steam:

  1. Launch the Steam client.
  2. Open the large image mode by clicking it on the top bar.

  3. Click the settings gear.

  4. Go to “Controller” and then to “Controller Settings”.

  5. Select your controller and then select Calibrate.

  6. First, enable “Block Navigation with Joystick”.

  7. Then select “Start Full Auto Calibration”.

  8. Follow the instructions and move the analog sticks 10 times in different directions.

  9. This is the basic auto-calibration.

After that, you need to go back and do the following:

  1. Select “Calibrate” again.

  2. This time, disable “Lock Joystick Navigation”.

  3. Adjust the dead zones of both sticks until you feel comfortable with the settings.

  4. When you’re done, return to the Controller Settings screen.

To customize settings for individual games, select “Xbox Configuration Support” or “PlayStation Configuration Support” depending on your controller. After that, select the game you want to customize for and adjust the settings if you like.

Calibrate the game controller online

Some websites allow you to calibrate your controller. One of them is Gamepad Tester , and it’s completely free to use. It’s very crude, but still works well when you use it to calibrate a controller.

There are a few experimental features in Gamepad Tester, but they’re not particularly relevant unless you’re debugging a controller. A simple process should work for you.

Just follow the instructions to calibrate the controller. After a calibration session, it should get better.

Check Calibration

Previously, you could check the calibration with the calibration tool, but there is no better way to check it than by playing a game that requires precision. For example, you can download a first person shooter (FPS) or a racing game. Both genres require very precise input in order to succeed in the gameplay.

Try it and see if your actions and movements become smoother. Usually, calibration can restore the feel of the controller to the factory state. Of course, this does not mean that your game sensitivity and dead zone settings are erased, as they are game dependent.

Some video games even have the ability to calibrate the controller. This is usually the same across platforms, so you can calibrate your controller in a video game whether you’re playing on PC, PS5, or Xbox One.

Additional FAQs

Why should I do this?

There are times when the controller gives strange readings and settings, especially if you use it on platforms that are not intended for you. For example, using a PS4 or PS5 controller on a PC may result in some sub-optimal settings and dead zones.

With calibration, you improve the performance of the platform you are using. Of course, adjusting the game settings can help, but there are times when calibration is better.

Usually Xbox controllers are pre-calibrated to work properly on PC, but if you notice that they look weird, you can always calibrate them to make sure they work properly.

Older controllers can also become less accurate if you use them for a long time. Calibration helps to give it a new life, although it does not solve all problems. If even intensive calibration does not work for your controller, then it’s time to get a new one.

What is the Z axis on the controller?

The Z axis is the axis for your trigger buttons on your Xbox controller. When both triggers are in neutral, the value should be 50%. The left trigger reduces it to 0% and the right trigger increases the value to 100%.

What controllers does Steam support?

There are many different controllers you can use on Steam. Here are the most common ones:

• Steam controller

• All Xbox controllers, new or old, wired or wireless.

• PS4 controller, wired or wireless

• PS5 controller, wired or wireless

• Wired Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

For a very detailed database of supported controllers, visit this page to see if yours is on the list. In general, almost all USB or wireless controllers will work with Steam. It’s rare these days to find something that Steam doesn’t support.

You can potentially use a GameCube controller with an adapter and some additional software. It may take some time, but you can try to find good settings.

Finally got good

Once calibrated, your controller will most certainly perform much better than before. Now that you know how to do this in various software, you can tweak the settings to achieve the optimal gaming experience. You are only as good as you feel comfortable with.

Do you prefer large or small dead zones on your controller? Which controller do you like best? Tell us in the comments section below.

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