Most modern controllers are ready to use with a PC right out of the box. But if you’re using an unusual controller or USB adapter, you might find your analog stick inputs aren’t as accurate as they should be. For example, GameCube and N64 controllers typically need a little adjustment to get accurate stick inputs. You can use the Windows 10 (and Windows 7) calibration menu to gain control over your controller. Some joysticks will also require careful adjustment before they register reliably.
Depending on the controller you’re using, the name and icon may be slightly different. We’re using the Xbox One controller that requires a special PC dongle. The same steps should apply for any controller, gamepad or joystick calibration.
Opening the Calibration Wizard
1. Open the Windows 7 Control Panel from the Start Menu. Make sure not to open the Windows 10 Settings application. If you do, you’ll need to go to “Devices -> Printers & Scanners -> Devices and Printers.”
2. Click on “Device and Printers” to open a listing of devices connected to your computer.
3. Locate your controller’s icon in the list of devices. Make sure not to confuse it with the controller’s wireless adapter. That one won’t have the calibration options.
4. Right click on the controller and choose “Game controller settings” from the context menu.
5. On the popup options screen click the “Properties” button.
6. In the next popup window click on the “Settings” tab.
7. Under the “Settings” tab click the button labelled “Calibrate…” to open the calibration tool. Note that if you accidentally calibrate your controller incorrectly, you’ll also find the “Reset to default” button here. That will get things back to the original state.
This will invoke the Calibration Wizard which will guide you through the process of setting up your controller’s directional correctly.
Using the Calibration Wizard
After the Calibration Wizard opens you can walk through the guided calibration steps to gain better control over your control stick inputs.
1. In the main window click “Next” to get going.
2. This first window will calibrate the left thumb stick which the calibration tool calls a directional pad. Leave the stick entered and press any button on the controller (The “A” button is fine.), or click “Next” in the calibration window.
3. Push the control stick into all the corners (or just rotate it around the extremes of its input), then press any other button on the controller. If you want to see the integer values your controller is sending to the computer, you can tick the box next to “Display Raw Data.”
4. Return the left control stick to center by releasing it, then press any other button on the controller.
5. The next window measures the Z Axis. On the Xbox One controller, this is controlled by the triggers (LT and RT) on the back of the controller. On the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controller you’ll have to pull the left and right trigger sequentially to get a full range of “motion” from 0% to 100%. Once you’ve done that, press any other controller button.
6. The X rotation is controlled by the left and right movement of the right control stick. Move the control stick all the way to the left, then all the way to the right, and then press any controller button.
7. Move the right control stick up and down to input the Y rotation, then press any controller button.
8. Click “Finish” to complete your calibration.
9. Back in the controller’s properties window click the “Apply” button to apply your calibration settings.
If you need better control over your gamepad, you can use the built-in Windows 10 calibration tools to make some adjustments. The controls aren’t too refined, but they can help you out if you have some major errors in your input.