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Joystick Not Working (Not Recognized) in Windows 10 – Try These Solutions

Playstation and Xbox controllers can be connected to a Windows 10 PC and they will normally work out of the box if a game supports them. For games that do not support a controller, you can add the game to Steam, and then configure a custom controller profile that works for the game you’re playing. 

There are lots of generic controllers available that mimic PS4 controllers and Xbox controllers. In addition to these generic controllers, there are other controller manufacturers that make gamepads for PCs. 

While a Playstation and Xbox controller will almost always work without any problems, the same cannot be said for other or generic controllers.

Joystick not working (not recognized) in Windows 10

When a controller doesn’t work right, it’s often the joystick that doesn’t respond or that is recognized as button input instead of a joystick. This normally means that you’re unable to use in-game actions that require a joystick. 

Joystick not working (not recognized) in Windows 10

1. Check joystick input

Before you can troubleshoot why a joystick is not working, you need to check if it is a problem with the hardware or with the game not recognizing the input. 

  1. Connect your controller to your PC.
  2. Open your browser and visit Gamepad tester.
  3. Press a button on the controller to wake it up.
  4. Move the joysticks on the controller and check if the Axis value shows any input detected.
  5. If the input is detected, your joystick is working.
  6. If input is detected but not for Axis, the joystick’s configuration is incorrect.

2. Install proprietary drivers for controller

The reason a joystick may not be configured correctly is that it needs proprietary drivers. This generally happens with off-brand controllers that Windows 10 installs generic drivers for.

  1. Locate proprietary drivers for your controller; they may come in the form of a disk, or they may be available for download online.
  2. Install the drivers.
  3. Connect the controller.
  4. Visit Gamepad Tester to check joystick input.

3. Uninstall and reinstall gamepad

This solution is best suited for generic gamepads but you can use it for any type of controller.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Devices and printers.
  3. Right-click your device and select Remove device from the context menu.
  4. Disconnect the gamepad.
  5. Reconnect it and allow Windows 10 to install drivers or install proprietary drivers.
  6. Check the joysticks again.

4. Calibrate controller

If a game controller works partially i.e., some buttons work but the joysticks don’t, or the joysticks don’t work but the buttons all do, you may need to calibrate your controller.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Devices and printers.
  3. Right-click the controller and select Game controller settings.

  1. In the window that opens, select your controller and click Properties.
  2. Go to the Calibration Function tab.
  3. Click the Default button.
  4. Click the Set button.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to calibrate the controller.

5. Test joystick mapping

Your joystick may work but it may not be detected as a joystick. Instead, Windows 10 may think it’s acting as buttons. 

To test that, follow these steps.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Devices and printers.
  3. Right-click the controller and select Game controller settings.
  4. Select your controller, and click Properties.
  5. Go to the Function Test tab.
  6. Move both joysticks and check what input is detected. 
  7. If a joystick is detected as buttons, you will need to remap it.

6. Remap the joystick

You can remap a joystick easily but you will need a third-party app for the job. If you plan on using the gamepad in Steam, use the native Controller Configuration option.

If you want to use the controller outside Steam, use x360 to remap the joysticks to their correct function.


Generic controllers normally map correctly on Windows 10 but you will have an easier time setting up a generic Xbox controller than a generic PS4 controller. Even  genuine PS4 controllers often don’t work well with Windows 10.

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