USB Joystick Troubleshooting


Prison Oubliette










If you have a joystick that plugs into your sound card or special game controller card, you won't have any problems getting Hardwar to work with it. On the other hand, if you've got a little plug on your joystick that goes to a USB port, you may have to do a little troubleshooting to get things to work smoothly.

Hardwar is not at fault in most of these problems. Windows is. The only fault I've found in the game itself is that the sensitivity of a USB stick is a little higher.

The USB Port

Some 90% of problems are due to an unconfigured or misconfigured USB port that the joystick is plugged into.

Start checking your USB ports by seeing if they're recoginzed by Windows. If you haven't used them, they may not be. The SideWinder installation program can screw up your USB configuration, too.

To see if you have USB port drivers installed, go to your Window's desktop and right-click "My Computer". Select "Properties" from the pop up menu. Now click the "Device Manager" tab. This shows you all of the detected hardware and drivers.

Look for a device group called "Universal Serial Bus Controller" (USB Controller). If you don't see this, you've not got a USB port configured for your joystick. Shut down Windows, uplug your stick, and reboot. Remove any joystick drivers that are installed. Shut down again and plug your stick back in, make sure there's a good connection.

Windows should detect both the USB port and the stick. Let Windows select the USB drivers and install the stick drivers after your port drivers have been configured and you've rebooted.

If Windows does not detect the port or stick on a reboot, open the Control Panel and the "Add New Hardware" function. Don't let windows search for your device. It already has and failed. Click the "Pick from list" button and select USB controllers. Now let Windows search for a controller within itself.

This may require the Windows installation CDs or knowing where your set up files are located on your hard drive. This is usually a subfolder in your C:\Windows folder. You can search for "*.cab" files. Windows compresses its files into cabinet (.cab) files. You may have to search your directory full of .cabs both on your hard drive and installation CDs before Windows finds a USB driver it likes.

Once found, let Windows install the driver and reboot. Now shut down and install your stick. Load its drivers from whatever CD or floppy that came with it. Job done.

USB Misconfiguration

If you check your USB ports in Device Manager and see a "Universal Serial Bus Controller" it should have at least a "Root Hub" driver and a "PCI to USB" driver if you computer supports PCI -- all modern PCs do support PCI.

If one of these is missing, remove all entries under "Universal Serial Bus Controllers" rebooting as necessary. This lets you start a square one. Now install the drivers following the procedure in the previous section.

If everything looks good and you have multiple USB ports, try plugging the stick in another port.

Another problem occurs if you've got a ton of drivers and devices listed. The proper driver for your joystick is probably not loading. You can fiddle with this and maybe get things to work, but my advice is to remove everything under "Universal Serial Bus Controllers" and start from scratch installing the USB drivers and joystick drivers first.

Again, most USB problems aren't with the game or the joystick, but with Windows configuration of the USB port. As a rule, it's best just to remove all USB profiles, reboot, and start from scratch. After configuring the USB port, install your joystick drivers and configure your joystick.


Hardwar seems to be more sensitive to USB controller movements that it is to sticks plugged into the sound card. The best way to cope with this is to open the software that came with your stick and see if you can adjust the "sensitivity" or your stick to a lower value.

Some sticks hide their calibration and adjustment programs under Control Panel|Game Controllers.