Main Menu

Steam Controller FAQ

Steam Controller FAQ

Have a question about your Steam Controller? It may be answered below. If you are unable to resolve your issue please see our guided Troubleshooting Tree

How to pair to a Wireless USB Receiver

  1. Plug in your wireless USB Receiver
  2. Launch Steam in Big Picture Mode
  3. Select the settings icon in the top-right
  4. Under Controller, select Controller settings
  5. Select Add a Steam Controller
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete pairing

My Steam Controller makes a loud/funny noise


To globally disable Haptics and the Experimental Rumble Emulation for the Steam Controller, follow these steps:

  1. Open Steam in Big Picture
  2. Go to Controller Settings
  3. Under Preferences, click on Haptics Preference and [Experimental] Rumble Emulation, and set to OFF
  4. Restart your computer and retest the issue

If you’re no longer experiencing sound or haptics:

  1. Open Haptics Preference and set to Configuration Preferences
  2. Go to Settings > Base Configurations > Big Picture Configuration
  3. Select the right trackpad, press Play located next to the Steam Controller button for Advanced Settings
  4. Change the haptics intensity to Low

Steam button lights up but doesn't control anything


Your Steam Controller may be paired to a different device (another computer or Steam Link). Plug your Wireless USB Receiver into the desired device and do the following to pair to a different source:

  1. Turn off your Steam Controller
  2. Hold (A) and press the Steam button

My Steam Controller doesn't work as expected in a game


You may experience functionality loss or unintended input if the Steam Overlay isn't working properly or the configuration you've chosen includes input styles that aren't supported by the game you're playing.

1. Check Steam Overlay functionality

The Steam Overlay is vital to Steam Controller functionality. Press the Steam button on your controller, or ALT+TAB on your keyboard to bring up the overlay. If the Steam Overlay doesn't appear, make sure you've enabled it through the Steam settings menu.

  1. In the Steam client or Big Picture Mode, open the settings menu
  2. Under the In-Game tab, make sure the Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game box is checked
  3. Confirm by clicking OK

2. Launch the game from Steam

Steam may have issues applying the Steam Overlay to non-Steam or retail games. Please try adding retail or non-Steam games to your Steam library. Once the game is added, launch the game from your Steam library

3. Disable game launcher overlays

Some games use a separate launcher outside of Steam (Uplay, Origin, Bethesda, Square-Enix, etc.). These games may have overlays that interfere with the Steam Overlay. To disable these overlays:

  1. Launch the game from Steam
  2. Locate the external launcher settings menu
  3. Select the option to disable the overlay

4. Change your controller configuration

To create your own configuration:

  1. Open Steam in Big Picture Mode
  2. Select game from your library and select Manage Game
  3. Under Preferences select Configure Controller
  4. Customize your Steam Controller input settings for that game

You can build from the Keyboard (WASD) Mouse configuration for keyboard/mouse input, and Gamepad listed under the Template section to avoid using hybridized input that some games may not accept.

Note: Rename the binding to be easily located. It is listed in your Templates section. Make any input modifications that you need and export/save the configuration.

5. Disable input emulators and streaming software

If you have an Xinput emulator (Joy2Key), any type of input management software (Razer Synapse, Logitech), screen capturing software (NVIDIA ShadowPlay), a framerate counter program, or others installed on your computer, it may conflict with the Steam Controller. Try disabling these programs and retest the issue.

Check out our Programs Which May Interfere with Steam FAQ.

How to use the Steam Controller with non-Steam games


You’ll need to add the game and/or launcher to your Steam Library:

  1. Launch Steam and click the Games menu
  2. Select Add a Non-Steam Game to My Library
  3. Find your game on your computer or check the box next to the game
  4. Select Add Selected Programs

Make sure to enable your Steam Overlay globally in the Steam client Settings:

  1. Select Steam in the top left of the menu bar, then select Settings
  2. Go to the In-game tab
  3. Check the Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game box
  4. Optionally, check the Use Big Picture overlay when launching from desktop mode.

If your third-party client has an Overlay, disable it to make sure it doesn’t conflict with the Steam Overlay.

Phantom input


If you're experiencing random input or drifting trackpads, you may need to calibrate your Steam Controller.

  1. While in Big Picture Mode, select the settings icon in the top-right corner of the client
  2. Under Controller, select Controller settings
  3. Find your controller listed under Detected Controllers:
  4. Select your controller and click CALIBRATE
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete calibration

Problems using multiple controllers


The Steam Controller uses XInput to send commands to your computer. When you're using multiple controllers, games will prioritize some controllers over others depending on their input style, DirectInput or XInput. However, you can try to isolate the input devices to determine if one is causing an interference.

To isolate input devices:

  1. Launch the game
  2. Remove all input devices
  3. Plug in the Steam Controller and check to see if it works
  4. Plug in another input device (keyboard, mouse or gamepad)
  5. Check to make sure both devices work
  6. Continue this process until Steam Controller functionality breaks
  7. Update or disable problematic input device drivers

To ensure that your devices are using different configurations:

  1. Make sure both controllers are plugged in, connected, and registered
  2. Right click game in your Library > Edit Steam Controller Configuration > bottom button labeled Switch Controller > Change Controller Configuration Grouping
  3. Select unique configurations for each device

Note: You can also change the controller order from Big Picture mode > Library > Manage Game > Controller Options.

I can’t save my configuration


If you're using a Steam Controller as a Guest, you won't be able to save configurations. Register your Steam Controller to use the save feature.

Do the following to register your Steam Controller:

  1. Launch Steam in Big Picture Mode
  2. Select the settings icon in the top-right
  3. Under Controller, select Controller settings
  4. Find your controller listed under Detected Controllers:
  5. Select REGISTER, then Register to this account
  6. Choose preferences and click Submit

Can I recharge batteries in my Steam Controller?


The Steam Controller accepts disposable and rechargeable batteries. The USB cable is intended to provide a wired connection and does not charge any batteries inserted into the Controller.

To use rechargeable batteries, they will need to be charged with the appropriate device.

Problem with Steam?

Help Me With My Issue
Related Articles
Steam Controller FAQ Valve Hardware Warranty
Steam Controller FAQ Valve Hardware RMA Guide
Steam Controller FAQ Valve Hardware Shipping FAQ