Here are some steps you can take to get a wired Xbox 360 controller working on Windows 8. If you are having issues with Windows 8 recognizing your controller, then here is a good fix.
1) Download the drivers from www.microsoft.com/…/download.aspx
2) Choose Gaming > Xbox 360 Controller for Windows > Windows 7 64 bit > English. Don’t run the drivers. Save them to a folder. (Or Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows depending on your controller)
3) Right click the Xbox360_64Eng file in the folder you downloaded to and click “create shortcut”
4) Right click the shortcut you created. Select properties.
5) On the compatibility tab in properties, click “Run this program in compatibility mode” Choose Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 1 as the compatibility mode. Apply setting and click ok.
6) Right Click on the shortcut and select “Run as administrator”
7) With your controller plugged in go to Device Manager. You should see Microsoft Common Controller for Windows Class. It located under Mice and other pointing if you do, you have arrived. If you don’t, try this.
Continue only if you don’t see Microsoft Common Controller for Windows Class in Device Manager
8) Right click the unknown device that shows a problem.
9) Update Driver Software > Browse My computer for Driver Software > Let Me Pick from a List of Drivers
10) Choose Microsoft Common Controller for Windows Class > XBOX 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows
If you see a warning, just ignore it. Thanks to Psycho from the official Xbox forum for a great portion of this tutorial.