Getting a wired 'Afterglow' Xbox 360 controller to work on PC

I had an issue recently where my 'Afterglow' controller refused to work on my PC. Regular Xbox 360 controllers seem to get picked up by Windows normally and work just fine, the drivers install and there's nothing that I need to configure in Steam or anywhere else, they 'just work'.

However, the 'Afterglow' controller doesn't work for some reason. This is a third-party branded controller but it is a fairly reputable brand. When I plug it in, the 'glow' colour flashes on briefly, but after that nothing happens. It does not appear in the 'Game Controllers' menu:

Game Controllers menu

Nor does any game respond to any input whatsoever. I can see the device in Devices & Printers, however it shows up as an 'Unspecified Device':

Afterglow for Xbox 360 - Unspecified Device

Right-Clicking and selecting 'Troubleshoot' runs the troubleshooter, which attempts to install the drivers for the device, unfortunately this ultimately fails because no such driver exists for 'Afterglow Gamepad for Xbox 360':

Troubleshooter

What can I do? Is there any way I can get this controller to work like a regular Xbox 360 controller?


Yes, you can!

Firstly, you might need to install the Xbox 360 Controller software for Windows first. According to a few reports this has solved a few people's issues, however, this was not the case for me.

The problem is that the device is reporting itself as an 'Afterglow Gamepad for Xbox 360', instead of a regular 'Xbox 360 Controller', meaning that Windows isn't automatically picking up the correct driver. Luckily, we can select it manually.

  1. Hit 'Start', type 'Device Manager' and Enter
  2. Expand the 'Other Devices' dropdown and find your Afterglow controller
  3. Right-Click it and select 'Update Driver Software...'
  4. In the Window that appears, click 'Browse my computer for driver software'
    Device Manager
  5. Select 'Let me pick from a list of drivers on this computer'
    Let me pick...
  6. Find the option 'Microsoft Common Controller for Windows class'
    Common Controller for Windows class
  7. As your Afterglow controller is wired, select the 'Xbox 360 Controller for Windows' option. You want the one with the latest date.
    Xbox 360 Controller for Windows
  8. You will receive a warning about the driver potentially being incompatible, because Microsoft can't verify that it will work for your device. You have to select 'Yes' at this point.
    Driver warning
  9. Success! The driver was installed.
    Success message

Wrap-up

Now if you go back to Device Manager, you will note that your Afterglow device is now under the 'Common Controller for Windows' heading instead of the 'Other devices' heading.
Device Manager

The controller should now appear in 'Game Controllers' and can be calibrated & used normally:

Afterglow Gamepad for Xbox 360


This is a cross-post of the Q&A I wrote up on Arqade