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Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Oct 17, 2023

Remote Desktop Game Controller Redirection Techniques

Game Controllers over Remote Desktop Session

Numerous gamers face the challenge of inadequate processing power in their home computers to meet the demands of modern games. To address this, they turn to remote gaming, utilizing a more powerful machine for their gameplay needs.

However, while remote gaming solves the initial problem, it introduces a new concern. The available options on the remote desktop controller might not be ideal. Being limited to using a rudder, pedals, or joystick to play a favorite racing game, for instance, puts remote gamers at a significant disadvantage compared to others.

Unlock the full potential of your remote gaming experience! This article will help you to learn how to use Xbox and PS controllers over a remote desktop connection to supercharge your gameplay.

Connect a Game Controller over RDP with FlexiHub

For those looking to use their Xbox One controller, or other game devices, remotely in an RDP session, a dedicated software tool is necessary to have remote control for PC games. A versatile solution for connecting controllers using the RDP protocol is FlexiHub.

This software is installed on both the computer directly connected to the game controller, referred to as the RDP client, and the RDP server, the system controlling the Xbox One remotely. FlexiHub offers additional benefits such as USB device isolation and data transfer protection.

Step-by-step instruction for RDP Xbox controller passthrough

  • 1.
    Create your FlexiHub account on the software's official website and verify it via email.
  • 2.
    Download and install the FlexiHub desktop application on all computers participating in the RDP connection, including the one to which the game controller is physically connected.
  • 3.
    Start the application and log into your FlexiHub account. After that, the gamepad is immediately made available for USB over RDP connection.
  • 4.
    Launch FlexiHub in the remote desktop session and log into the account with the credentials used previously. blank
  • 5.
    From the interface, you'll see a list of all remotely-accessible devices. Simply locate the game controller from the list, and click the Connect button beside the device's name.

    connect devece

That's it! Now the game controller will appear in the Device Manager on the remote desktop like it was plugged into that PC.

RdpGamepad: A Remote Desktop Plugin for Xbox Gamepads

RdpGamepad is a remote desktop plugin that lets you use Xbox gamepads remotely in a session. Once you have installed this plugin, it will automatically be loaded when you initiate an RDP session.

The plugin can read the local gamepad with XInput and enable data availability in a remote desktop virtual channel through a virtual Xbox 360 controller. It happens with the help of a ViGEmBus kernel mode driver while ViGEmClient SDK is used for communication with that driver.

How to Set Up RdpGamepad

To enable this functionality, download the latest released client installer on a local computer from its latest release.

When the remote desktop is connected, you will have a virtual Xbox 360 controller presented before you. This will make your gameplay experience even more exciting. You can also download the latest ViGEmBus drivers and the receiver installer on the remote computer you are connecting to.

How to Use RdpGamepad

To use RdpGamepad, you don’t have to do anything manually once it’s set up. The plugin will automatically be loaded by the remote desktop while the receiver will connect to this plugin automatically when initiating a remote desktop connection.

Next, a virtual Xbox 360 controller will be attached to your remote computer upon establishing the connection. Here’s a step-by-step process to do it:

  • • Download the client installer with the latest version on your local computer. Next, double-click on this - RdpGamepadClientInstall-{version}.exe. After this, follow the instructions given.

  • • On each remote desktop that you want to connect to remotely, download ViGEmBus drivers of the latest version and then install them. You can get it from the release page of ViGEmBus. For installation, double click on this - ViGEmBus_Setup_{version}.exe. Next, follow the instructions.

  • Download and install the receiver installer of the latest version. To install this software, double-click on - RdpGamepadReceiverInstall-{version}.exe.

This is how you should be able to use the RdpGamepad plugin.

Troubleshooting Xbox Controller issues in Remote Desktop Connections

Sometimes the Xbox controller wouldn't work even after making a remote desktop connection, it could be due to the fact that the receiver from the remote desktop has added a fresh virtual remote access controller for the remote device.

In this case, the game engine or the game running on the computer might be using the controller “the first ”. This controller will serve as a default for other controllers attached physically to the remote machine.

To troubleshoot this issue, you can look for any newly attached virtual controller on your remote computer. Now, try unplugging this controller. You can do this either by:

  • • Disconnecting the virtual controller physically from the remote machine, or
  • • Disabling the virtual controller directly by using the Device Manager from the remote machine
Use Game Controller with Remote Desktop
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How to Configure Remote Desktop for PS Controller Use in an RDP Session

Are you wondering - is it possible to game over RDP? Read on.

If you want to use a PlayStation (PS) controller over an RDP session without a third-party tool, you will need to configure remote desktop group policies for your controller.

Given below are the step-by-step instructions on how to set up a remote desktop in order to use your PS controller to play games over RDP. Before that, it's necessary for you to understand some terminologies that will be used in the steps.

  • • Local computer: It’s the machine that will be attached physically to the PS controller
  • • Remote computer: It’s the machine receiving and using the controller inputs via an RDP connection.

Step 1: Edit Remote Desktop Group Policies

In the first step, you will need to edit the remote desktop Group Policies on your local computer. You can do this by following the steps below:

  • • Go to your local computer’s “Start” menu. Type “gpedit” to edit the Group Policies and then run the application “Edit Group Policy”.
  • • Navigate to the section:

    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

  • • Once entered, right-click and select the option “Edit”.
    1. Select the radio button “Enabled”.
    2. Now, change the drop-down “Access Rights” and make it “Administrators and Users”. Doing this must get you the following result: Allow RDP redirection of other supported RemoteFX USB devices
    3. Apply the new settings by clicking on the option “OK”.

  • • From the Start menu, locate the application “Command Prompt”. Now, right-click on this option and run it by choosing “Run As Administrator”.
  • • Next, at the command line, you will need to run “gpupdate /force”. It must yield the following result: Command Prompt - gpupdate /force
  • • At last, reboot the local computer to enable the changes.

Step 2: Update the Remote Machine

After editing the Group Policies on your local or home computer, you will need to update your remote computer. You can do this to enable gaming over RDP. For this, follow the below steps:

  • • Go to the remote machine’s Start menu. Next, type “gpedit” and then run the application “Edit Group Policy”.
  • • Go to the section:

    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 entering, right-click on the option “Edit” and select “Enabled”. Click on “OK”.
  • • Go three levels back to reach “Remote Desktop Session Host”.
  • • Go to the section:

    Connections -> Allow users to connect remotely by using Remote Desktop Services

  • • On entering the section, right-click on the option “Edit” and select “Enabled”. Now, click on “OK”.
  • • Go two levels back to reach again to “Remote Desktop Session Host”.
  • • Go to the section:

    Device and Resource Redirection > Do not allow supported Plug and Play device redirection

  • • On entering, right-click on the option “Edit” and select the option “Disabled” this time. Next, click on “OK”.
  • • Go to the device Start menu again to find the application “Command Prompt”. Just right-click on this and run it by choosing “Run As Administrator”.
  • • Now, you will need to run “gpupdate /force” at the command line. Doing this must bring you the following results:
    devices and printers list

  • • At last, reboot your remote computer.

On a Remote Desktop, restart the device by typing the following command at the command line: Shutdown /r

Step 3: Connect the Controller to Your Local Computer

Once you have edited the Group Policies and updated the remote computer, you must connect your PS controller to the local/home computer. To do this, complete the below steps:

  • • You will need to ensure that the gamepad remote you use is properly connected to the local computer through USB.

    1. Open the “Control Panel” and choose “Devices and Printers”.
    2. Ensure your gamepad is available on the list by connecting it. If not connected, try reconnecting it. In case it still doesn’t connect or shows in the list, you may have to find another alternative.
    3. Now, right-click on the gamepad controller. Choose this option - “Game Controller Settings”. If you want to check whether your gamepad controller is functioning well or not, click on “Properties”.

  • • On your computer’s Start menu, locate this option - “Remote Desktop Connection” and run it.

    1. Here, you must find the “Show Options” button at the bottom.
    2. Locate this tab - “Local Resources”.
    3. Again at the bottom, you must click on the option “More…”. It will show you a dialog box like this: remote desktop connection - local resources
  • • If you manage to complete each step correctly in the first step, i.e., editing the Group Policies on the local computer, you must see this - “Other Supported RemoteFX USB Devices”. If yes, congrats! This will give you a list of supported USB devices for RemoteFX gaming.

    However, if you don’t see this section, it’s highly likely that you have committed some kind of mistake in the first step. If that’s the case with you, you must go back and again try following the steps carefully from the beginning.

    For instance, if you are using a PS controller that shows on the list as a USB input device, consider choosing the gamepad remote you have right now - a PS controller.

  • • Finally, you must be able to connect to the remote PC you want with ease.

Step 4: What’s Your Profit?

  • • After connecting to the remote PC, go to the section “Control Panel” and then locate “Device and Printers”. Doing this will show you all the devices connected to that PC. In this area, you must be able to see your gamepad controller listed along with other connected devices.

  • • If you have executed all the above steps correctly, the gamepad will be listed there. However, if you cannot find your gamepad controller under this section, it’s highly likely that you have made some kind of mistake in step 2 while updating the group policies on the remote PC. If that’s the case, consider going back and trying again.

  • • Once you have fixed the mistake, you must be able to find the gamepad controller in the list.

Now, your PS controller should be ready for you so you can start using it during an ongoing RDP session. Enjoy playing your favorite games!

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