PS4 or PS5 Controller Stopped Working With Steam

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

If you rely on Steam to configure a controller layout for your PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 controller and make it works on your computer’s desktop, you might notice that it suddenly stops working after a certain Steam update. Your PS4 or PS5 controller no longer remembers the desktop layout previously set in Steam and just won’t work on the desktop. This guide will explain what actually happened and how to quickly resolve the issue.

Also see: Use PS4 or PS5 Controller as Mouse and Keyboard in Windows 11

PS4 or PS5 Controller Stopped Working With Steam

Why do some PS4 and PS5 controllers suddenly stop working with Steam?

Several users have also reported that their PlayStation controllers, either PS4 or PS5, have stopped working with Steam’s Desktop Layout. This issue typically manifests after a recent Steam update. When attempting to edit the desktop configuration in Steam settings, the “Edit” screen appears blank, displaying only a grey background. This problem affects the controllers regardless of the connection type, whether wired or wireless (Bluetooth or not), and occurs in desktop mode, not specific to any game.

PlayStation Controller not working with Steam desktop layout

Symptoms

  • Inability to control the PC using the controller as per the user-defined Desktop Layout.
  • The “Edit” button in the Desktop Layout settings leads to an empty, non-functional screen.
  • Editing other layouts (for games or the Guide Button Chord Layout) remains unaffected.

Additional insights

  • The issue persists even without the use of DS4Windows, ruling it out as the cause.
  • The same problem has been reproduced on the Steam Deck running Windows 11, but not on SteamOS.
  • Interestingly, if another controller is connected (like the Steam Deck’s native inputs), switching to its configuration screen works correctly.

Learn more: Play PC Game with PS5, PS4 or Xbox Controller in Windows 11

What causes the issue?

The sudden malfunction of PlayStation controllers on Steam’s Desktop Layout is attributed to a bug within the Steam platform. This issue specifically affects the ability to edit the Desktop Configuration for PlayStation Controllers, leading to a blank and unresponsive edit screen. The bug seems to have been introduced in a recent Steam update, impacting users on various versions of Windows, particularly Windows 11.

Notably, this bug has been addressed in the Steam Beta version. Steam’s intended functionality allows users to edit the desktop configuration without fully enabling Steam Input. Features like the light bar, rumble, and gyro are designed to remain off unless a game is launched using Steam Input or the Steam Input option is set to “Enabled”. This design choice is to prevent conflicts with games that have built-in support for these controller features.

You can find a similar reported issue here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/353370/discussions/1/5540051992993335542/

Solution: Adjust the “PlayStation Controller Support” setting

For many users, the simplest and most effective solution is to modify the “PlayStation Controller Support” setting within Steam. This approach is straightforward and doesn’t require installing the Steam Beta version. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Steam application on your computer.
  2. Click on “Steam” in the top-left corner of the window, and select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.Steam Settings
  3. In the Settings menu, click on the “Controller” tab.
  4. In the Controller Settings window, find the “PlayStation Configuration Support” option. It’s typically set to “Enabled in Games w/o Support”. Change this setting to “Enabled“.Fix Steam Controller Stopped Working on Windows 11 Desktop
  5. Close and reopen Steam to ensure the changes take effect.
  6. Once Steam is reopened, connect your PlayStation controller and test the controller to see if the desktop layout functions correctly.

This method has proven to be a quick fix for the issue, restoring the full functionality of the PlayStation controller on the Steam desktop layout.

However, it’s important to note that while this solution has worked for many users, it may not resolve every instance of the issue. If this method does not solve the problem, you might need to try other solutions, such as updating Steam or opting into the Steam Beta program.

Related resource: How to use PS5 Controller on Xbox Game Pass PC

General troubleshooting tips for PlayStation controllers on Steam

If the method above does not resolve your PS4 or PS5 controller issue with Steam, you may need to try other more general solutions. Here are some useful troubleshooting steps for when your PlayStation controller stops working with Steam.

  1. Re-configure controller’s desktop layout settings in Steam: If experiencing issues specifically with desktop configurations, navigate to Steam’s settings and re-adjust the desktop configuration. This might involve browsing configs and selecting or creating a new desktop configuration.Configure PS4 or PS5 controller on Steam Desktop Layout
  2. Restart Steam: A simple yet often effective solution is to close and restart the Steam application. This can resolve minor glitches affecting controller recognition.
  3. Check Bluetooth connectivity: For wireless controllers, ensure that the USB Bluetooth dongle or adapter is functioning correctly and that Windows can properly detect your paired controller.Check Controller Bluetooth
  4. Check for Bluetooth signal interference and conflict: If using a wireless connection, ensure there’s no interference from other Bluetooth devices. If the controller was previously connected to a PS4 or PS5 console, make sure the console is turned off.
  5. Remove device and pair your controller again: Sometimes, simply removing the controller from your device list in Windows and pairing it again can resolve connectivity issues. This is particularly effective if there have been changes in the system or software updates.Remove PS5 or PS4 Controller from Bluetooth on Windows 11
  6. Check for controller malfunction: Verify if the controller itself is functioning correctly. This could involve testing the controller with another device or trying a different controller with your PC to rule out a specific hardware issue.
  7. Disable and re-enable Controller Support options: Some users found that disabling all controller support options in Steam, exiting Steam, and then re-enable the controller support again helped.
  8. Keep Steam updated: Ensuring your Steam client is updated can prevent and fix issues with controller connectivity. If you usually play in offline mode, check for updates when you do go online.

Wrapping up

In summary, the main solution provided in this article is to address a known bug in Steam that can affect PlayStation controllers after a major Steam update. To resolve this issue, simply change the “PlayStation Configuration Support” option from “Enabled in Games w/o Support” to “Enabled.” This straightforward fix should get your PlayStation controller working smoothly with Steam’s desktop layout again. If you encounter any other issues with your controller and Steam, be sure to explore the general troubleshooting tips outlined in the article to help resolving your problem.


Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of WindowsDigitals.com. With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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