How to test your Xbox controller for stick drift

Ever notice your character in an Xbox game moving on its own, even when you’re not touching the thumbstick? This frustrating phenomenon is called stick drift, and it can seriously disrupt your gameplay. But before you resign yourself to a new controller, there are ways to test for stick drift and potentially fix it.

This guide will walk you through two simple methods to diagnose stick drift on your Xbox controller, whether you’re using an Xbox One or an Xbox Series X/S. We’ll also cover some troubleshooting tips to get you back in the game.


  • Your Xbox controller (wired or wireless with a micro USB or USB-C cable)
  • A PC with a USB port
  • Internet connection


  1. Connect your Xbox controller to your PC:
    • Wired controller: Simply plug the USB cable from your controller into an available USB port on your PC.
    • Wireless controller: You’ll need a micro USB or USB-C cable (depending on your controller model) to connect it to your PC. Power on the controller using AA batteries or your Xbox console (temporarily). Then, plug the cable into the controller and your PC’s USB port.
  2. Open Gamepad Tester: Launch your preferred web browser and visit
  3. Grant permission to your browser: Some browsers might ask for permission to use your gamepad. Click “Allow” or follow the on-screen prompt to grant access.
  4. Test the thumbsticks:
    • Look for the two circles on the screen that represent the left and right thumbsticks on your controller.
    • Place the controller on a flat surface without touching the thumbsticks.
    • Observe the circles on the screen.
      • No drift: If the circles stay perfectly centered, your controller’s thumbsticks are functioning correctly.
      • Stick drift: If the circles drift in one direction even when you’re not touching the thumbsticks, your controller likely has stick drift. The severity of the drift will be indicated by how far the circles move on the screen.
  5. Test button presses (optional): You can also use the gamepad tester to check if all your controller buttons are registering properly. Simply press each button on your controller and observe the corresponding icons light up on the screen.

Leave a Comment