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Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows: Installation Experience

“Experience” is a lovely word for a corporate blog. Discuss.

Anyway, my experience was that it didn’t work the first time round. That was at 7pm. it’s now 9pm, and I’ve just finished my first laps around Barcelona in RFactor, using the Wireless Racing Wheel and TrackIR.

Awesome? You betcha! Easy? Not quite what I’d hoped for!

So what can you learn from my experience, dear gamer? Read on…

I’d gone out to buy the receiver this evening – so it’s available in Australia now! – and ended up getting a receiver-and-controller-in-one pack, as the standalone receivers seemed to have sold out quicksmart (and there was much rejoicing among shareholders).

After the by-now-rather-passe strains and cuts endured while opening the packaging/security enclosure/weaponized clear plastic container, I was eager to just plug stuff in!

Reading the helpful green tag on the plug (“Install software first“), I was tempted to just plug it in and let WindowsUpdate do the rest, but I thought I’d Do The Right Thing and, y’know, install the CD it came with.

That Was My Mistake

That, it appears, was my mistake. If you skip to the “After System Restore” section below, you’ll see that the installation can be perfectly painless.

For me, though, it wasn’t. The CD was put in, Autorun selected, and it promptly told me I didn’t meet the system requirements and should check the website.

This I did, and eventually browsed my way over to the Wireless Receiver download for Windows Vista X64.

Note for first-time readers: I run Windows Vista X64 at home on my gaming machine. I’ve never been able to justify this decision rationally, except with the flimsiest of excuses: more bits must be better. (and more registers, and fewer k-mode drivers, and…)

Anyway, I installed the proffered software, it found the wireless receiver and installed a nice Xbox-like indicator accessory thingo.

But no matter what I did, whatever combination of resync-button-mashing or battery removal or unplugging or replugging or… well, anything (there are a massive total of three relevant buttons, the Guide button solely being used for power in this scenario, so there’s not a vast amount of creativity required), the controller’s ring of light would loop, then both the receiver and controller would flash, then the controller would continue all-quadrants-flashing. It was very consistent – sorta the equivalent of “yes, I know you’re there, but I don’t want to talk to you”. Plus, when I was trying to repurpose an existing controller, I’d end up turning the Xbox 360 on all the time.

On the X64 box, I’m running in test-signing mode to get past some semi-signed driver issues, and at the back of my mind, I’m always a little suspicious that something somewhere is working differently because of this. So far, I haven’t found anything that was directly attributable to it, but I live in fear (and with Test Mode printed in all eight corners of my screens).

So, I tried it out on Tiny, my P1610, far, far away from the Xbox. I just plugged in the receiver, and 32-bit Vista downloaded the Wireless Receiver software from Windows Update (Tiny doesn’t have an optical drive), and the controller synced with the receiver. Took about two minutes all up, including resuming from hibernation.

With this in mind, I tried deleting the drivers for the Receiver using Device Manager, but they seemed to reinstall locally and not from Windows Update; an Update didn’t seem to fix it, so I gave up and turned to my old new best friend, System Restore. Back to before I installed the download. This took about five minutes.

After System Restore, I Just Plugged It In

… and this time, it found the drivers directly from Windows Update, installed them in about five seconds flat, and then the controller magically synced itself straight away. The drivers installed for the controller, and whop! It was done!

I haven’t yet downloaded the Accessory thingo again (the thing that does the Xbox-style on-screen Ring Of Light) again, but it’s on the back burner.

Now, I might have seriously stuffed something up early on. I was going to add “but I don’t think so”, but it’s pretty obvious that I did, barring a faulty download or something.


Anyway, moral of the story this time is: Just plug it in and let Windows Update do the work for you, if you’re running Windows Vista X64. And x86, for that matter, based on my similarly-good experience with Tiny.

Now, all my Wireless devices are happy to chat to the receiver (reminds me, I haven’t tried the headset yet…) and I’m happily playing RFactor with a real wheel!

Yep – works just like the original headset with a wired controller (as a separate audio device in Windows), only it’s wireless! Cool!

As they say in Jamaica*, w00t, m0n.

Anyone else have problems, or did it Just Work for y’all?

[Update 3rd March] – the receiver stopped working again on the restart after the more-recent Accessories installation. System Restore-ing back to just the bare drivers worked again; I’m going to try a couple more reboots to see if it’s a reboot thing in general, or just an Accessories thing.