How to Calibrate Your PS or Xbox Controller in Windows 10

All gamers know the importance of maintaining their gear, and this includes making sure the controllers are in perfect condition. Some issues can often mess up your aim or even movement, as competitive shooters require the most precise of actions. Luckily, there are ways to reset controller axes on Windows 10.

How to Calibrate Your PS or Xbox Controller in Windows 10

If you want to learn how to calibrate a controller on Windows 10, this article will help you. There are plenty of options to follow. We’ll also answer some burning questions you may have.

How to Calibrate Your PS or Xbox Controller in Windows 10

All Windows 10 PCs come with a program called 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 wanted to.

Before we get into the steps, let’s try something else.

Reset Controller Calibration to Default

This method is great to deal with minor issues. It essentially refreshes the controller’s calibration, just like you would refresh a malfunctioning or slow webpage on your browser. The steps are extremely simple, and you can finish this whole process in under a minute.

These are the steps for resetting controller calibration:

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

  2. Go to your “Devices and Printers” settings.

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

  4. Select “Properties” from the new window.

  5. On the “Settings” tab, select “Reset to Default.”

  6. When done, select “OK” to end.

  7. Do the same for the original controller window.

  8. Your controller should be in factory calibration now and you can close “Devices and Printers” if you want.

This quick fix is effective in eliminating strange sensitivity and calibration settings. However, it might not work at times. If the quick reset method doesn’t work, you can try this next method.

Calibrate Your Game Controller With Calibration Tool

The Calibration Tool is reliable to get your controller back in shape. This process takes longer as you’ll have to follow the instructions. However, the tool will tell you what to do.

Here’s how you use the Calibration Tool to calibrate your game controller manually:

  1. Go to “Devices and Printers.”

  2. Locate your controller from the hardware. Right-click on the controller and select “Game Controller Settings.”

  3. Make sure you’re selecting the right controller and then choose “Properties.”

  4. Go to the “Settings” tab in the new window.

  5. Select “Calibrate.”

  6. The Calibration Tool will run, and just select “Next” to begin.

  7. Leave the D-pad (Xbox) or left thumbstick (PS) centered and press any button.

  8. Move the D-pad (Xbox) or left thumbstick (PS) to all four corners and then press any button.

  9. Repeat Step 8 for the right thumbstick. When done, select “Finish” to complete the process.

  10. Test if everything is working. Select “OK” when done.

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

Manual calibration might be able to solve problems resetting can’t. Usually, your controller will be as good as new after the recalibration session.

If you want to learn how to calibrate with Steam, check out the following section.

Calibrate Your Game Controller With Steam

Did you know that Steam comes with its own controller calibration function? It’s more in-depth and even allows you to adjust the deadzones. You can even fine-tune your controller settings on a game-by-game basis even if the game doesn’t support USB controllers.

Here’s how to perform some basic calibration with Steam:

  1. Launch the Steam client.

  2. Open Big Picture Mode by clicking it at the top bar.

  3. Click the settings cog.

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

  5. Select your controller and then select “Calibrate.”

  6. First, enable “Lock Out Joystick Navigation.”

  7. After that, select “Start Full Autocalibration.”

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

After this, you need to go back and follow these steps:

  1. Select “Calibrate” again.

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

  3. Adjust both sticks’ deadzones until you feel comfortable with the settings.

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

To adjust the settings for individual games, select Xbox Configuration Support or PlayStation Configuration Support according to your controller. After that, select the game you want to adjust for and go wild on the settings if you want.

Calibrate Your Game Controller Using a Third Party

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

Gamepad Tester has some experimental features, but they’re not particularly relevant if you’re not debugging a controller. The simple process should work for you.

Testing the Calibration

You were able to test the calibration using the Calibration Tool earlier, but there’s no better way to test it than to play a game that demands precision. For example, you can load a first-person shooter (FPS) or a racing game. Both genres require very precise inputs to excel in gameplay.

Try and see if your inputs and movement feel smoother. Usually, calibration can restore the feel of the controller to factory condition. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your in-game sensitivity and deadzone settings are wiped, as they’re game-specific.

Some video games even have the option of calibrating 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 Would I Need to Do This?

There are times when a controller develops strange readings and settings, particularly if you’re using it in platforms you’re not supposed to. Using a PS4 or PS5 controller on a PC might result in some suboptimal settings and deadzones, for example.

With calibration, you’re making it feel better on the platform you’re using. Of course, adjusting game settings can help, but there are times when calibration is better.

Normally, Xbox controllers are pre-calibrated to work well on PC, but if you notice it feeling strange, you can always calibrate it to ensure it works well.

Older controllers can also become less accurate when you use them for a long time. Calibration helps give it a new lease in life, though it doesn’t fix all problems. If not even intensive calibration is working for your controller, then it’s time to get a new one.

What Is the Z-Axis on a Controller?

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

What Controllers Does Steam Support?

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

• The 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, please visit this page to find out if yours is on the list. In general, almost all USB or wireless controllers would work with Steam. It’s rare to find something that Steam doesn’t support nowadays.

You can potentially use a GameCube Controller with an adapter and some extra software too. It might take some fiddling, but you’re more than welcome to try and find some good settings.

It Finally Feels Good

After calibration, your controller will surely handle much better than before. Now that you know how to do it on various software, you can adjust the settings to achieve the optimum gaming experience. You’re only as good as how comfortable you feel.

Do you prefer large or small deadzones on your controller? Which controller is your favorite one? Tell us in the comments section below.

5 thoughts on “How to Calibrate Your PS or Xbox Controller in Windows 10”

gladys says:
what when the “calibrate” option in the controler settings is greyed out and can’t access it?
w says:
what if “Properties” in game controllers is not enabled?
UnStableSanity says:
If I calibrate my Xbox Series 2 controller using a PC will those calibration settings persist the next time I use it on my Xbox console?
Steve Larner says:
The answer depends on what you mean exactly. Calibration is managed in the system you calibrate with, not the controller. Therefore, the Xbox Series 2 Controller will be calibrated in Xbox and Windows will have its own calibration setting. If you mean going back to Xbox and then returning to Windows 10 again, you should be fine because Win10 stored its calibration settings the previous time. Now, if you had to reinstall drivers, you’d have to recalibrate of course.

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