When you use Control Panel to open the Game Controllers applet, the game controller that is currently plugged into the game port is NOT listed.
The issue will occur if you disconnect a game controller, plug a different game controller into the same port, and Windows XP fails to detect the new game controller.
To workaround this behavior:
1. Open the Game Controllers applet in Control Panel.
2. Select the device that was connected to the game port that the missing game controller is now plugged into.
3. Press the Remove button..
4. Press the Add button.
5. In the list of Game controllers, select the device that is currently plugged in.
6. Press OK and OK.
NOTE: If your game controller is NOT listed, you may have to select a compatible device, which should be described in your game controllers documentation.