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How to Use a Game Controller over a Remote Desktop

Editorial Team Editorial Team Aug 10, 2023

In this article, we will demonstrate how to use the remote desktop protocol for gaming with a USB-connected gamepad. We’re going to show you how to connect a game controller to an RDP session using a third-party software application and alternately, with an RDP plugin.


  1. Redirecting a Gamepad over a Remote Desktop
    1.1 How to Connect a Game Controller over RDP
  2. How to Set Up a Remote Desktop to Use Xbox and PS Controllers During an RDP Session
  3. Using RDPGamepad to Connect an Xbox Controller in an RDP Session

How to Redirect a Game Controller to
an RDP Session

Redirect a Game Controller

Many gamers are faced with the problem of having home computers that cannot handle the processing demands of new games. To get around this problem, they engage in remote gaming and use a more powerful machine to play their games.

While gaming over a remote desktop connection solves the original problem, it introduces another issue. You might not like the controller options available to you on the remote desktop. You might be limited to trying to play your favorite racing game using a mouse or keyboard, putting you at a distinct disadvantage versus other gamers.

If you want to use your Xbox One control remotely in an RDP session, you need to use a dedicated software tool. A versatile solution for connecting to controllers using the RDP protocol is USB Network Gate, also known as RDP USB Redirector.

The software is installed on the computer with a physical connection to the game controller, which will be referred to as the RDP client. You also need to install the application on the RDP server, which is the computer that will control the Xbox One remotely.

USB Network Gate redirects the USB device between the two machines. The result is that the user on the remote desktop can use the gamepad with the same functionality as a locally attached device.

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Using USB Network Gate to Connect a Game Controller over RDP

Download and install USB Network Gate on the computer that is connected to the gamepad and the machine that will access it remotely.
Launch the application on the RDP client and open the “Local USB devices” tab. Locate the game controller that will be redirected over RDP and click the “Share” button next to its name.
 Local USB devices tab
After sharing the controller, start USB Network Gate on the RDP server. Go to the “Remote USB devices” tab to view the devices that are available to be connected to the remote desktop. Select the gamepad and hit the “Connect” button.
 start USB Network Gate on the RDP server
It’s really that easy! You now can set up remote control for PC games using the RDP protocol and a gamepad connected to your local computer.

Watch our video tutorial:

 video guide
Share game controllers with USB Network Gate
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Game Controller
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Flight Rudder Pedals
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Flight Yoke System
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Flight Universal Control System

How to Set Up a Remote Desktop to Use Xbox and PS Controllers During an RDP Session

This tutorial will serve as a step by step guide on how to do the setup. You will learn to establish connection from your house PC to a more powerful and remote computer.

A PS or XBox gamepad will be physically connected to a local computer and a remote computer where the gamepad's input signal will be transmitted.

Let's look at the steps to understand how to do all of that.

Step 1: GPEdit – Local Computer

  • Locate the "Start" menu. Type “gpedit” and run the “Edit Group Policy” application. GPEdit
  • Navigate to the below sections:

    • Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Connection Client -> RemoteFX USB Device Redirection -> Allow RDP redirection of other supported RemoteFX USB devices from this computer.
    Allow RDP redirection
  • On the entry, right click and select the option "Edit".

    • Choose the radio button "Enabled".
    • You must change the drop down "Access Rights" to "Administrators and Users”. This will look something like this: Access Rights
    • Apply the settings by clicking on "OK".
  • Now, go to "Start" and locate the app Command Prompt. Right click on it and choose the option Run As Administrator”.
  • Run gpupdate /force at the command line. Doing this will show you this output: gpupdate
  • Finally, reboot the local/home computer.

Step 2: GPEdit – Remote Work

If you wish it's possible to complete the following steps in an ongoing Remote Desktop session.

  • From the "Start" menu, type "gpedit" and run the application "Edit Group Policy".
  • Navigate through the below sections:

    • Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Remote Session Environment -> RemoteFX for Windows Server 2008 R2 -> Configure RemoteFX
  • On the entry, right click on "Edit". Next, select "Enabled", and click on "OK".
  • Back up 3 levels to choose "Remote Desktop Session Host".
  • Go to "Connections" and then Allow users for remote connection through Remote Desktop Services.
  • On the entry, right click on "Edit", select "Enabled", and click on "OK".
  • This time back up 2 levels to choose again "Remote Desktop Session Host".
  • Go to "Device and Resource Redirection" and Don't allow device redirection for supported plug and play.
  • On the entry, right click on "Edit", select "Disabled", and click on "OK".
  • From the Start menu, locate the application "Command Prompt". Right click on it and choose "Run As Administrator".
  • Run "gpupdate /force" at the command line. This will show you the following output:
  • Finally, reboot the remote computer.

    • If you are doing this step with the help of Remote Desktop, restart the remote computer by typing the following at the command line:

      shutdown /r

Step 3: Connect from Local Home PC

Here are the steps to complete connection from home PC:

  • Make sure the gamepad controller you are using is connected through a USB to the local computer. For this, consider the below instructions:

    • Go to the "Control Panel" and "Hardware and Sound". Then choose "Devices and Printers", "Devices", and "more devices and printer settings". devices and printer settings
    • Ensure to list your gamepad here. If not done, try reconnecting it. But if the problem still persists, you may seek someone's help or Google it.
    • Next, right click on your controller and select the option "Game Controller Settings".
    • To test if the controller is working fine, click on the option "Properties".
  • From the Start menu, locate "Remote Desktop Connection" and run it. Now, do the following:

    • At the bottom, you will find the option "Show Options". Click on it.
    • Visit the tab "Local Resources".
    • Click on the option "More", which you can again find at the bottom. It will open a dialogue box, looking something like this: Local Resources
  • If you have completed every step correctly in the Step 1 for GPEdit - Local Computer for your home computer, you will see the section "Other Supported RemoteFX USB Devices". Kudos to you!

    However, if you don't see that section, you might have made some mistakes in the first step. In that case, you will need to try again.

    For example, if you have the Xbox One Controller gaming controller, listed as a USB Input Device, choose the gamepad you are using, which is "Xbox One Controller" (or HID compliant).
  • In the end, you will be able to connect to the remote computer with ease.

Step 4: Profit

  • Once you have connected to the remote work computer, go to the "Control Panel" and choose "Devices and Printers”. Devices and Printers
  • If you have completed everything well, you will see your gamepad controller listed here. If not, you might have made some mistakes on the step 2 for GPEdit - Remote Work. In this case, retreat and try again.
  • By this time, you will be fully capable of using your gamepad over a Remote Desktop session. So, enjoy playing your games.

Using RDPGamepad to Connect an Xbox Controller in an RDP Session

RDPGamepad is a plugin developed by Microsoft that enables you to use a game controller in a remote desktop session. After installing this plugin on the local machine, you can use a connected game controller over RDP.

The RDPGamepad plugin transfers input data over a Remote Desktop Virtual Channel. The RDPGamepadViGEm file then takes the gamepad data and sends it to a virtual game controller on the remote desktop. The following steps show you how to use an Xbox controller on a PC over an RDP connection.

Download the latest release of the plugin’s client installer to your local computer. Install the plugin by double-clicking on RDPGamepadClientInstall-{version}.exe and following the on-screen prompts.

Perform the following two steps on each remote computer that you may want to use to control a gamepad over RDP.

  1. Go to the ViGEmBus release page and download the latest release of the ViGEmBus drivers. Double-click on the ViGEmBus_Setup_{version}.exe file and follow the instructions to install the driver.
  2. Download the most recent version of the receiver installer. Install I by double-clicking on RDPGamepadReceiverInstall-{version}.exe and following the on-screen directions.

Using the plugin
The plugin is loaded automatically when Remote Desktop starts. When an RDP session is initiated, the receiver is automatically connected to the plugin. After the connection is established, a virtual Xbox 360 controller is connected to the RDP session.

Plugin details
The Remote Desktop plugin is part of the RDPGamepadPlugin project. It reads local XInput data from a gamepad and transmits it over a Remote Desktop Virtual Channel. Then the RDPGamepadViGEm project takes the data from the virtual channel and uses the ViGEmBus kernel mode driver to present it through a virtual Xbox 360 controller. Communication with the drivers is accomplished using the ViGEmClient SDK.

If you want to learn more about the plugin and download the code, go to the tool’s GitHub page here.

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