Connecting a PS3 controller to a PC is not as difficult as one might expect, and typically requires PC users to do little more than plug their controller in the their PC’s USB input. All you really need is a USB cable. Although most stock wireless PS3 controllers come packaged with a USB charge cable, players can purchase a third-party charge cable ($1.50) if missing the component. Since you need those to charge the controller, you’ll need one regardless.
Related: You can stream PS4 games on your PC using remote play (and here’s how)
Here’s our quick-hit guide to connecting a PS3 controller to a PC, so you can ditch the mouse and keyboard if you so desire. The exact process for doing so depends on whether you’re utilizing a wireless or wired device, but it’s essentially the same regardless of the controller.
Step 1: Update Drivers and .NET Framework
First, connect your PS3 controller to your PC via a USB cable and Windows should begin installing an initial set of drivers. From there, you’re going to need to install a few files from Microsoft. Some of these will already be installed, but just in case, download the official Xbox 360 PC driver, .NET Framework 4.0, and Visual C 2013. Once you’ve installed those drivers and files, it’s time to download the third party software that will enable your DualShock 3 to work on your PC.
Step 2: Download and Install SCP Driver Package
Head to the official SCP Toolkit download thread and click the link to download the latest stable version. You will need a tool like 7-Zip to extract the files. Once downloaded and extracted, run the file “ScToolkit_Setup.exe” as administrator. The program will install. Following the installation, you will have a number of new program shortcuts on your desktop: ScpToolkit Driver Installer, ScpToolkit Profile Manager, ScpToolkit Settings Manager, and ScpToolkit Updater.
Right click on “ScpToolkit Driver Installer” and run as administrator. A new window will open. Be sure all the boxes are checked, including Force Driver installation. From the “Choose DualShock 3” dropdown menu, find and select your DualShock 3 controller. If you’re installing either a DualShock 4 or a Bluetooth dongle to enable wireless play, select those as well. Then, click install. All the necessary files will install and be automatically configured. Once complete, your DualShock 3 will now be plug-and-play, meaning you can plug it in at any time and it should be recognized and work automatically.
Step 3: Creating a Profile
At this point, your DualShock 3 is ready to go. However, if you’re so inclined, you can fine tune your controller through various applications include with the ScpToolkit.
By using the ScpToolkit Profile Manager and the ScpToolkit Settings Manager, you can customize your controller experience to suit your needs and playstyle. With the Profile manager you can create custom button mappings that can be swapped between on the fly. You can also create mapping for keyboard and mouse as well. The Setting Manager will allow you to fine tune your thumbstick sensitivity, rumble, controller latency, and LED display, among a lot of other advanced settings.
Troubleshooting for Windows 10
Sometimes Windows 10 can be picky with controllers. Being Microsoft’s operating system, it’s closely tied to the Xbox One and Xbox Live ecosystem — antithetical to connecting and using a Sony gaming device, especially an outdated one. While the ScpToolkit circumvents most of the issues users may face when using the DualShock 3 on PC, there may be errors while trying to install. In that case, there is a workaround to enable driver installation. It may also be wise to back up important files, even if the procedure isn’t necessarily dangerous. We will be changing Windows startup settings, after all.
- Begin by pressing the Start button, or the Windows key.
- Go to Settings.
- Click on Update and Security.
- Select Recovery from the list on the left.
- Click Advanced Restart.
- Now wait. Your system will restart and boot in a mode that will allow you to alter your firmware and startup settings, thus allowing you to bypass the driver signature enforcement.
- Select Troubleshoot from the resulting list of options.
- Click Advanced Settings, then Startup Settings. This will initiate another restart.
- After your system boots again, you will have another set of options to choose from. Find Disable Driver Signature Enforcement, then press the F7 Key to reboot your PC one last time.
- When your PC finishes rebooting, follow the procedures outlined above to reinstall and configure ScpToolkit.
This article was originally published on December 31, 2014, and updated on June 10, 2016, by Brendan Hesse to include troubleshooting tips for running MotionJoy on Windows 10.