How To Fix when VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL

One of the most commonly encountered errors for VLC Media Player users is an inability to open the MRL file. This error happens when your computer can’t find the target media file on local drives. Occasionally, it’s due to other factors.

How To Fix when VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL

If you’re not sure how to resolve the MRL file error, you’re in the right place. Fortunately, the error is well-documented, and solutions are available. Keep on reading to find out how to fix your specific scenario.

VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL – DVD

Occasionally, VLC Media Player no longer reads DVDs, especially if you’re using an external DVD or CD player. You’ll get an error message informing you that VLC can’t open the MRL file.

In this case, the culprit is an overzealous firewall. If your computer has third-party antivirus software installed, it will flag the external drive as dangerous. Therefore, VLC Media Player can’t read the disk.

The solution is to turn off your antivirus’ firewall, as it tends to eliminate this error on external DVD/CD drives. Each antivirus program has its methods for disabling firewalls, and we urge you to follow the proper techniques.

Should disabling a firewall not work, you may have to uninstall your antivirus altogether. Sometimes, reinstalling VLC Media Player works as well.

While Windows Defender isn’t likely the cause of this error, you may choose to disable its firewall as well. Doing this may fix the problem, but it’s not guaranteed.

Disabling Windows Defender’s Firewall Service

If Windows Defender’s firewall is the culprit, you’ll have no choice but to disable the firewall it uses. Here are the steps for doing so:

  1. Click on the Start button on your Windows PC.
  2. Go to the Settings.
  3. Select “Update & Security.”
  4. Go to “Windows Security.”
  5. Next, open “Firewall & Network Protection.”
  6. Choose a network profile.
  7. Switch the firewall off.

Turning your firewall off can make your PC vulnerable to malware or hacking. Thus, we don’t highly recommend doing so unless you have no choice. Should you wish to let VLC have an exception, follow these instructions instead:

  1. Start from Step Five above.
  2. Pick a network profile.
  3. Instead of turning off your firewall, move your cursor lower and click on “Allow an App Through Firewall.”
  4. Click on “Change Settings.”
  5. Scroll down the list of apps and look for VLC Media Player.
  6. Tick the check box behind its name.
  7. Choose a network type to access networks.
  8. Confirm and save your settings.

While it’s not usual to see Windows Defender cause MRL problems, this knowledge is handy if it happens to be the program causing problems.

However, if you don’t want to disable your firewall for the sake of security, there’s another way.

Claim File Ownership

If you claim ownership of the offending media file, your computer won’t see it as a potential threat anymore. You’ll fix the problem immediately after you follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the file you wish to claim ownership of.
  2. Select “Properties” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Move to the “Security” tab.
  4. Select the “Advanced” button to open a new menu.
  5. Click on “Change” near the top.
  6. At the box near “Enter the Object Name,” type “Administrator.”
  7. Select “OK.”
  8. Check the box which says “Replace All Child Object Permission Entries With Inheritable Permission Entries From This Object.”
  9. Apply the settings.
  10. Try opening the media file again.

If everything works out, you can open the file in your external drive with the bonus of keeping your firewall intact.

VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL on a Mac

The inability to open media files can also occur on Mac. Even though Mac OS and Windows are very different, the error occurs on both for the same reason: an overprotective firewall.

The best fixes are to disable your Mac’s firewall or even uninstalling the antivirus software itself. Here’s how to do the former:

  1. Click on the Apple Menu.
  2. Head to “System Preferences.”
  3. Go to “View” and then “Security.”
  4. Click on the “Firewall” tab that appears.
  5. Click on the “Stop” icon that looks like a square.
  6. Your Mac will inform you that the firewall is now off.
  7. Save the changes and try opening the file again.

You can also configure your firewall to ignore VLC Media Player specifically.

VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL Local File

You may also encounter this error if you have a media file saved on your computer’s local drive. It happens due to ownership issues, outdated VLC clients, and firewalls. Let’s take a look at the possible fixes.

Taking Ownership of the File

As we discussed ownership in an earlier section, taking ownership tends to be the most effective solution. Your firewall will stay active and protect your computer from threats while you enjoy watching videos. Here’s what you must do:

  1. Right-click on the media file.
  2. Click on “Properties.”
  3. Switch to the “Security” tab from the various options.
  4. Go to the advanced settings.
  5. Select “Change” near the top.
  6. Type “Administrator” in the box associated with “Enter the Object Name.”
  7. Check the box “Replace All Child Object Permission Entries With Inheritable Permission Entries From This Object.”
  8. Confirm your settings by pressing the “Apply” button.
  9. Try opening the media file again.

Reinstalling VLC Media Player

Some users forget to update VLC Media Player and use outdated versions. Sometimes, this error occurs precisely due to using an old copy. The solution is to uninstall VLC and get the latest update.

To reinstall the player, make sure to adhere to the instructions below:

  1. Go to the Settings menu on Windows.
  2. Click on “Apps.”
  3. Scroll down and locate VLC Media Player.
  4. Uninstall VLC Player and follow all the onscreen steps.
  5. Head to the official website.
  6. Download the latest version of VLC Media Player.
  7. Follow the installer’s instructions.
  8. Run VLC and try to open the file.

Disable Firewalls

Occasionally, it’s your antivirus’ firewall that prevents you from opening the MRL. Follow your specific program’s instructions to disable it. Once your firewall protection is off, you shouldn’t reencounter the error.

Windows Defender should not cause MRL errors to appear. However, if you wish to disable its firewall, you’re free to do so.

VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL on YouTube

You can use VLC Media Player to watch YouTube videos, though Google isn’t a big fan of this. Therefore, the company tries to make doing so difficult. Fortunately, VLC’s developers have released a solution to the problem.

The key to watching YouTube videos on VLC is to download a .lua file. Renaming it to change the format will solve the problem. After completing the process, it’s possible to open the YouTube MRL again.

Here are the necessary steps:

  1. Download the .lua file first.
  2. Rename it to “youtube.luac” and copy the file.
  3. Go to the “lua” folder where you installed VLC Media Player.
  4. Open “playlist” within “lua.”
  5. Paste or drag the original into the folder.
  6. Launch VLC Media Player.

If you need to update your player, do so as well.

Adding the new .luac file will let you watch YouTube videos again.

VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL with SMB

Not even Linux users are immune to MRL errors. In this case, you can make things right by providing VLC on Linux with credentials to access Samba. As you got the error with SMB, we’ll assume you know how to use Samba.

Here are the steps for fixing this issue:

  1. Launch VLC Media Player.
  2. Go to “Preferences.”
  3. Pick “Show settings (All).”
  4. Head to “Input/Codecs.”
  5. Click on “Access Modules.”
  6. Scroll down and select “SMB.”
  7. Enter your SMB username, password, and domain.
  8. Save these settings.
  9. Close the Preferences window and try playing the content again.

Once you give VLC your Samba credentials, it should allow you to fix the issue. Playing remote media files can be finicky, but you can enjoy the videos with this solution.

VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL ‘Screen //’

VLC Media Player can capture your screen and even your audio, but sometimes, Ubuntu users encounter this unique MRL error. The solution for this is to install a plugin.

Here are the steps to fix this issue:

  1. Download the plugin on your Linux device.
  2. Copy “sudo apt install vlc-plugin-access-extra” into your command line.
  3. Execute it.
  4. After the plugin finishes installing, you should be able to capture the screen.

An Ancient Error

The MRL error has been happening to users for many years now. Even so, the time that people have encountered it translates to solutions for various scenarios. With the proper knowledge, you can fix the issue relatively quickly.

Have you encountered any of these errors before? Did you disable your firewall or take ownership of files? Let us know in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “How To Fix when VLC Is Unable to Open the MRL”

Aria says:
Hello, this advice does not make sense. I am using neither operating system. VLC is supported on more than just Windows and Mac OS.
Steve Larner says:
What system do you need help with?

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