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How to test a game controller input on Windows 10

Hardware used to interact with a computer e.g., a keyboard, mouse, trackpad etc, are normally plug & play. Generic, no-name, off-brand, knock-offs will work with a PC without a problem.

Game controllers are another type of input device and like keyboards and mice, they tend to come from known brands and they come from lots of knock-off manufacturers. Unlike Keyboards and mice though, they may not work the same way. In fact, they may not work at all if Windows 10 is unable to install the right drivers for it.

Test a game controller on Windows 10

If you’ve connected a game controller to your Windows 10 PC, and it isn’t working in a game or any and all games, you should check if the input is being detected. 

A game controller may not work for various reasons so if you have a generic controller, or if you have an Xbox or PS4 controller, and it isn’t working, you should check if its input is being detected or not. You can run this check from any modern browser.


In order to run this test you need;

  • A modern browser like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Chromium Edge.
  • Your controller on hand, and connected to your system.
  • Any and all drivers that are available for the controller installed on the system.

Test game controller input

To begin the test, follow these steps.

  1. Connect your game controller to your PC.
  2. If you hear the installing hardware chime on Windows 10, allow drivers for it to install.
  3. Open your browser and visit Gamepad Tester.
  4. Press any button on the controller to wake it up.
  5. The controller will be detected by Gamepad Tester.

  1. Once the controller is detected, its buttons will be mapped and shown on the screen.
  2. Press the buttons and joysticks to test them all.
  3. For joysticks, you will be able to see the movement on the axis.
  4. The app will also show you the time stamp for the various keypresses and their inputs.
  5. If your controller vibrates, click ‘Vibration’ and it will test the vibration by vibrating the controller in your hand.

Interpreting results

Like keyboards and mice, if a keypress on the controller isn’t recognized, the button is probably broken. If no input is detected though, that means your controller isn’t set up on your PC. 

The other stats for the keypresses that are displayed can help you customize the responsiveness of the keys.

If the controller is detected by Gamepad Tester, but it isn’t working in a game, the problem likely lies with the game itself. It may not support controllers or, it may block generic controllers if that’s what you’re using.

For generic controllers, you can use apps to emulate an Xbox or PS4 controller or to remap keys. 

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