Got a Wired Xbox 360 Controller AND Flight Simulator 2004?

How 'bout milk? Got that? Well, as you've heard me say (write?) before, the Xbox 360 controller goes with Flight Simulator like peanut butter sandwiches and milk---mmm, mmm, good! I like mine so much I just had to make it work with Flight Sim 2004, too. And since Microsoft has a DirectInput driver available from Windows Update this was a piece of cake (which, come to think of it, goes good with milk, too). So, if you've got a wired controller and Flight Sim (the milk is optional) here's all you have to do:


1. Locate your FS root folder.

2. Open the DEVICES.CFG file in Notepad.

3. Copy and paste the following lines into the end of the file:


[Microsoft Xbox Wired Gamepad (Controller)]

[Microsoft Xbox Wired Gamepad (Controller) SLEW]


4. Save the file.

5. Plug in the controller (and wait for the driver to update if necessary).

6. Launch FS.


This file provides a reasonable default set of control mappings although you can tweak them by using the Assignments dialog in FS. Oh, and as a BONUS, if you have an Xbox 360 headset you can simply plug it into the controller and it will show up as a sound device in Control Panel. Just select it as your default output device, sit back on your couch (provided your PC is nearby <g>), relax and enjoy the elegance of comfortable flying. Ahhh, it doesn't get any better...

Comments (20)

  1. Fabio says:

    Hi Mike,

    thanks for this bonus .. i ll try with xbox controller.. also if i m very happy with my Evo Force… 🙂


  2. marcin says:

    yesss flight simulator and x-box controler…sorry Mike but I`m disgusted…you product manager are trying tell us, that using arcade game controler is better in Flight simulation …yes it`s for sure but for babes .Please stop looking on it like arcade game only , because there is lot`s of simmers which takes it more seriously…


  3. MKaprocki says:

    Janda, your post is a disgrace to FS users everywhere. The guy took a few minutes of his time to help others who may not play the game as seriously as you. *GASP* I said game! Not everyone takes it as seriously as you. Some people may not want to sit at a desk with their $700 PFC yoke and pedals pretending to be an airline pilot. Without the "gamers" there probably wouldn’t be enough sales to justify newer versions. The whole FS team is devoting thousands of hours to creating a great simulator that can be used in a wide range of ways. Why don’t you just give them a break? As a gauge programmer who has developed numerous award-winning payware products, you, my friend, are the reason some of use are getting disgusted with the FS user community.

  4. OwenHewitt says:

    Kudos for putting these parameters together, Mike. I’m sure there are those who will utilize this – heck, I’m considering it, just to see for myself before passing judgement like *ahemm* Mr. Janda a.k.a. Martin.

    To you, Mr. Janda, please refrain from such negativity. Yes, there are very serious users out there who use high-tech controllers, such as CH Products or Precision Flight Controls. In no way has the MS team suggested that an X-Box controller be the sole input device – it is rather an alternate controller for those who have grown up using such devices. Have you stopped to think that a way to attract those who have grown up using consoles – the future customers of MS FS – is to be able to use such a controller? Then once these individuals find out that there are many other ways of controlling aircraft in MS FS, they may branch out and become the enthusiast that you are? Something to think about, right?

    Best regards,


  5. Gary Letona says:

    Hmm, I’m tempted to move my desk in front of my couch. Now all I need is that giant wrap-around monitor that Bill Gates used at the CES. Mike, you did plug the sim into that thing, didn’t you??


  6. Garry Trinder says:

    Gary, that thing had three 2000 lumen projectors shining right in my face so, no, I didn’t bother loading the game on it.

  7. marcin says:

    ok folks, sorry perhaps too strong words from me..sorry Mike I shouldn`t…it is truth that without the "gamers" there probably wouldn’t be enough sales to justify newer versions.FS series are part of my life that`s way I`m so nervous …


  8. See Mike !!?? ROFL !! Mention anything that starts with ‘X’ in front of FS afficionoados and it is like holding a red scarf in front of a herd of buffalo !!

    Doesn’t matter much if it is XBox or XPlane either ….. <grin>.

    Better get yourself a helmet and kevlar flak vest before attempting that again… !

    Kind regards,


  9. Rayed says:

    Thanks Mike! Works like charm!

    P.S. Don’t worry about armchair B747 captains :).

  10. FS_Pilot says:

    I followed your instructions and added the text to the devices.cfg in the FS root directory but it is not displaing in the list of controllers. except setting up the throttler axis (Z). The

    default is the throttle is setup on a rudder axis and centres if you release

    the right button giving you half throttle and you have to press the left

    button and hold it to lower it to zero. So assigned it to a rudder setting

    and was going to assign the throttle to another axis. Unfortunately all

    other axis’s will not allow you to assign it to a throttle axis. has anyone

    else also using the XBOX 360 Game Controller for Windows who maybe able to

    give me an idea how to fix it?

  11. aaaaaa says:

    a joypay to FS2004? What a joke! FS2004 its a Simulator man!!!

  12. Harry Bosch says:

    To FS_Pilot,

    The throttle is best maped to 2 controller buttons (I used the shoulder buttons for this). You now have digtal control over your throttle setting.

    Can’t figure out why Mike has his throttle assigned like this. You have to hold one the shoulder triggers pressed all the time to hold the needed setting.

  13. BrandIZI! says:

    Oh man… the joypad works great… I use a program to disable the triggers axes, makes them buttons. throttle is alot easier to control…

  14. bryan says:

    It feels totally natural.  The only changes I made were: moving the rudder control to the L and R trigger buttons, move the throttle to the shoulder buttons, and use the left analog stick as a ‘head turning’ view in virtual cockpit view.  The only squawk I have is that the 360 controller is so sensitive that sometimes when I let go of the right analog stick there will still be a slight aileron input, do you have a suggested null zone and sensitivity setting?  Otherwise the 360 controller is much more natural than a joystick with twist input for rudder for things like crosswind landings.  And yes, I am a certified private pilot who likes the ‘game’ controller better.

  15. Jon says:

    A very late reply to this, but I am very interested in using an XBox 360 controller in FSX (and FS2004 for the time being).

    As someone who has always used a traditional joystick for FS, it never did me any favours on the health front. As a scoliosis suffer, using a joystick was at times be quite painful, especially with aircraft that don’t have autopilot.

    I recently tried a Logitech dual analogue gamepad, and although I don’t believe it is quite as ergonomic as the XBox 360 MS controller (and I doubt the Logitech pots would last as long either), it was certainly far, far more comfortable than any joystick. Plus, I am able to sit right back in the chair rather than close to the edge of the desk and can thus more easily enjoy FS as the cinematic spectacle that it is.

    I had the horizontal left stick axis allocated to rudder and the right stick axes to ailerons / elevator. Two of the buttons at the top were down throttle and up throttle respectively and the other two were trim.

    After a couple of hours I started to get used to it and now I am very reluctant to ever use a joystick again. It’s the first time I’ve ever been able to use FS without any pain. It will take me some time to get used to crosswind landings in gusty conditions with turbulence, but somehow these new gamepads just make the whole flight modelling seem more "fluid" and believable.

    So I’ll most likely get the XBox 360 controller and I am really hoping that FSX will take advantage of the rumble features. I can imagine at the very least using the rumble for aerodynamic stalls, engine vibration, turbulence, touchdowns, etc.

  16. eric says:

    can i use the old xbox controller?

  17. Paul McGuire says:

    Can anyone confirm this working or not working with Vista?

    I am running Vista Ultimate 64 and I can no longer get this config to work. I changed the name of the controller to "XBOX 360 controller for Windows" but still the right stick gives no input in Flight Sim.

    It worked fine in XP and I sort of got used to it 🙂

  18. jungmin says:

    yes you can use an old xbox controller. You will however, change the input plug and get drivers. (XBCD)

  19. I came across the following two posts this morning, The second goes through the steps to get your XBox 360 Controller to work

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