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MSFT has done something bad (wireless Xbox 360 controller/PC users beware)

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,635
106
106
Note: this might belong in Operating Systems, but as the impact is to PC gamers, I'm putting it here.

Like many PC gamers, I play some games using a wireless Xbox 360 controller. To do that, I had to purchase a wireless receiver which I did many years ago through Amazon. It's worked great.

Until recently.

Several weeks ago MSFT released a Windows 10 patch (2004) that quietly made any non-MSFT wireless receiver inoperable. Apparently MSFT only wants to support their own branded hardware. Personally, I find this disappointing.

I suspect LOTS of PC gamers did what I did: ordered a controller and wireless receiver from Amazon. Most of the sellers on Amazon are selling Chinese-made hardware that's identical to MSFT branded stuff...but a few dollars cheaper.

Fortunately some people have figured out a workaround. After about an hour of installing/disabling/reinstalling drivers, I stumbled on this video which provides a relatively easy solution. Basically, you have to edit the MSFT driver to change the hardware id to match the hardware you have, then trick Windows into installing the driver that's now been tampered with.

 
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Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,548
345
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Interesting. I think I did that - bought an Xbox controller and an Amazon or other online wireless receiver, though I haven't used the controller yet. I didn't know MS even sold them.
 

KeithP

Diamond Member
Jun 15, 2000
5,631
178
106
Apparently MSFT only wants to support their own branded hardware.
Wouldn't it be a matter of the manufacturer of the wireless receiver releasing their own updated drivers? If they were counting on using MS's drivers to save money that seems like their problem not Microsoft's.

-KeithP
 
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Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,007
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I'm guessing MSFT is short for Microsoft? Are they abbreviating their brand name now?
 

nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
51,407
3,941
126
I'm pretty sure I have an official wireless receiver, maybe that's why I didn't notice this. I ordered mine from Amazon eight years ago, so YMMV.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,931
593
126
I'm pretty sure I have an official wireless receiver, maybe that's why I didn't notice this. I ordered mine from Amazon eight years ago, so YMMV.
Same. I'm pretty sure mine is a legit one from Microsoft as I've had it for quite a long time, and my wireless 360 controllers still work. I also have one of the newer ones that works with the non-Bluetooth Xbox One controllers (i.e. the pre-S/X controllers).
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
3,179
1,701
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Wifey picked up 4 controllers and a wireless adaptor for a birthday a few years ago, all official MS products.

I think the wireless adaptor is like $30 bucks, not sure why you'd go for an off brand when the controllers themselves are $60.

That being said the Xbox controller protocols were sort of akin to a standard for controller APIs on the PC, and its a bit of a bummer that MS seems to be withdrawing from that.

Saying this having not read the article in complete ignorance: wonder if this is just a standard issue oversight or bug that will be fixed shortly, of if the other shoe of bringing more Xbox games to the PC is dropping here (If MS isn't going to get the same licensing fees on the PC, they'll make it up with accessory sales).
 

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,635
106
106
The wireless receiver I bought through Amazon looks very close to the Microsoft version. The hardware is identical. Same off-color white. But "Xbox" was written across the top and not "Microsoft" (which I didn't even notice until this issue came up).

So it's pretty easy to fool people who aren't paying close attention. I thought I was getting the real deal, just through a reseller who was discounting them. Mine came with a dvd that had official Microsoft drivers on it....which were updated several times via various Windows 10 updates.
 

sactoking

Diamond Member
Sep 24, 2007
6,943
1,783
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Wifey picked up 4 controllers and a wireless adaptor for a birthday a few years ago, all official MS products.

I think the wireless adaptor is like $30 bucks, not sure why you'd go for an off brand when the controllers themselves are $60.

That being said the Xbox controller protocols were sort of akin to a standard for controller APIs on the PC, and its a bit of a bummer that MS seems to be withdrawing from that.

Saying this having not read the article in complete ignorance: wonder if this is just a standard issue oversight or bug that will be fixed shortly, of if the other shoe of bringing more Xbox games to the PC is dropping here (If MS isn't going to get the same licensing fees on the PC, they'll make it up with accessory sales).
Interesting that you compare them to APIs. Didn't a judge or USSC just rule or lean toward making APIs subject to copyright? Could this be Microsoft getting ahead of that and using it as an excuse to lock down their controller ecosystem?
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
3,179
1,701
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Interesting that you compare them to APIs. Didn't a judge or USSC just rule or lean toward making APIs subject to copyright? Could this be Microsoft getting ahead of that and using it as an excuse to lock down their controller ecosystem?
- I believe MS uses the DirectInput API with an Xinput library specifically for Xbox controllers.

However it looks like what is happening here is that 3rd party manufacturers were piggybacking off of MS's generic Xbox driver and MS modified the driver to only work with certified Xbox devices (the fix is to essentially hack the driver into thinking the 3rd party device is specifically supported in the device ID list).

3rd Part manufacturers could theoretically write and provide their own drivers for their products, but then that would eat into the cheap knockoff overhead they currently have going.

However, its not like the driver update included some sort of fundamental improvement to the driver that made it incompatible with 3rd party devices, it was just a blatant lock-out.
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,007
255
126
I think the wireless adaptor is like $30 bucks, not sure why you'd go for an off brand when the controllers themselves are $60.
Afterglow wired 360 controllers are $20 at Target (or 2 for $30 on sale) and you just have to plug them in and start playing. No batteries, no extra peripherals, and no messing around with Microsoft breaking them through updates. They work flawlessly with the only issue of the plastic being somewhat cheap, so after heavy use over a long period of time, you occasionally have to clean the sides of the buttons with a cotton swab and they work like new again. I have pets and I live in the desert, so I'm used to opening and cleaning my peripherals. Dust accumulates everywhere.
 
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zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
105,917
20,840
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that blows. FWIW, I've never liked wireless "anything" (for gamepads and similar stuff, latency just pissed me off; that, and need to recharge), and also for these PC gamepads, I had always read "bad things" about even the proper branded stuff working for PC. ....so I've had a wired X360 gamepad for I dunno, 10 years now?

It still works, some stiffness in Rt trigger button now (I use it maybe twice a year, in bursts for such games that need it, then it sits and collects dust again, for many months).

I do lament that many things are going wireless completely, without any other option? ...because this clearly gives more control at an increased number of transport points (now you've added a separate charger--how convenient!)...and I've thought that I may need to replace this with the newest version of Xwhatever console controller in the next two years, but I guess I wired version will never exist? le sigh...
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
105,917
20,840
136
Afterglow wired 360 controllers are $20 at Target (or 2 for $30 on sale) and you just have to plug them in and start playing. No batteries, no extra peripherals, and no messing around with Microsoft breaking them through updates. They work flawlessly with the only issue of the plastic being somewhat cheap, so after heavy use over a long period of time, you occasionally have to clean the sides of the buttons with a cotton swab and they work like new again. I have pets and I live in the desert, so I'm used to opening and cleaning my peripherals. Dust accumulates everywhere.
ah! maybe I will requisition some of my precious Q-tips and lab-made IPA/DIH2O/Tween20 (proprietary mixture!) to clean my sticky X360 buttons! :D Maybe this champ will last another 10...
 

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