Learn how to Join a PS3 Controller to a PC

The PS4 stole the spotlight from the PS3, and it won't be long before the PS5 is getting all the attention. That's still no reason to leave the PS3 console or to throw away the controllers altogether. For gamers who love to play on their PC, you can still get the most out of your PS3 controllers.

Get your controller, the PC you want to connect it to, a mini USB cable, and we'll walk you through the process.

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Part 1: Update Windows Drivers and .NET Framework

Step 1: First, check your currently installed drivers by starting the command prompt. As soon as it is open. Type driverquery and press Enter.

Step 2: Scan the list and make sure the following components are installed:

Step 3: Connect your PlayStation 3 controller to your PC using a mini USB cable (also known as mini Type-B). Usually they have a USB-A port on the PC side, but you can find cables with USB-C ports on Amazon. Mini-USB is older and larger than the more common micro-USB port used on the PS4 controller, mobile devices, and more.

Windows should begin installing the first drivers when you connect the cable.

Part 2: Download and Install ScpToolkit and Drivers

Step 1: Go to the official ScpToolkit download thread and click the green link to download the latest stable version. You will see the installation program – ScpToolkit_Setup.exe – as well as the source code packed in archives. If you want to tinker with the code, resort to 7-Zip or a similar tool to extract the files.

Step 2: Find the downloaded installer and launch it as an administrator.

Install ScpToolkit

Step 3: After the installation, ScpToolkit will prompt you to run a separate driver installer. If you don't see this prompt, search for “scp” and select “ScpToolkit Driver Installer”. On Windows 10, it might be under Recently Added at the top of the Start menu.

ScpToolkit driver installer

Step 4: When you run the ScpToolkit driver installer, make sure that all check boxes are selected, including Force Driver Install.

Step 5: Click the box arrow next to Select DualShock 3 Controllers to Install. From the drop-down menu that appears, find and select your DualShock 3 controller. If you also want to use a DualShock 4 or bluetooth dongle to enable wireless gaming, select those as well.

Step 6: When you're done, click Install. All necessary files are installed and configured automatically. Don't panic, you will see a lot of pop-up windows on your screen – this is normal. Once the "Dualshock 3 USB Driver Installed" message appears, you're good to go.

ScpTools Install PS3 Drivers

Step 7: When the installation is complete, click the Finish button.

Your DualShock 3 is now plug and play, which means you can plug it in anytime and it should work automatically!

Note the following: Because you technically use the Xbox 360 drivers to interact with the PS3 controller, you will likely see an Xbox control scheme in games. When a game wants you to press "X", they want you to press the Square button instead.

Note: As of January 2018, ScpToolkit is no longer in active development. Future Windows updates could make it an ineffective solution. As of now, however, this is still a viable option.

Part 3: create a profile and tweak the settings

If you are inclined to do so, there are various applications included in the ScpToolkit for you to tweak your PS3 controller.

ScpToolkit Profile Manager

Step 1: The "unstable" ScpToolkit Profile Manager is not installed by default. To get this functionality, run the installer again to select this tool and change your current installation. You will then see a desktop shortcut and ScpToolkit Profile Manager added to the ScpToolkit folder in the Start menu.

Once opened, you can create custom button mappings that you can exchange on the fly. You can also assign keyboard and mouse commands.

Global ScpToolkit configuration

Step 2: Double-click the ScpToolkit Settings Manager shortcut on your desktop or in the ScpToolkit folder in the Start menu. Here you can optimize the sensitivity of your thumb stick, the rumble, the controller latency and the LED display, among other things.

Troubleshooting Windows 10

Windows 10 makes it a little more difficult to connect certain controls to your PC. Most Microsoft operating systems mix well with Xbox accessories and Xbox Live ecosystems, but pairing with outdated Sony devices will likely take a little longer.

Problems can still occur during the installation even though ScpToolkit prevents most problems. Alternatively, you can activate driver installations. Remember to back up all data even if the risk is low. That way, you can recover data in case something goes wrong.

Step 1: Select Start or press the Windows key.

Step 2: Select the gear icon on the left side of the start menu. The Settings app is displayed. Step 3: Choose Update & Security. Update and security of Windows 10 settings

Step 4: Find "Recovery" in the list on the left and click on it.

Step 5: Select Restart Now (located under Advanced Startup).

Windows 10 Recovery Advanced Start

Step 6: Your system will reboot and start in a mode that allows you to change your firmware and startup settings, which will allow you to bypass driver signature enforcement.

Step 7: A menu of options will appear. Click on Troubleshoot.

Windows 10 Select an option

Step 8: Click on additional options.

Windows 10 troubleshooting

Step 9: Choose Startup Settings. Your system will restart.

Windows 10 advanced options

Step 10: After restarting your system, another selection menu will appear. Find Disfor Driver Signature Enforcement and press the F7 key to restart your PC one final time.

Step 11: When your system reboots, please follow the instructions above to reinstall and configure ScpToolkit.

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