How to fix when VLC fails to open MRL

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Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
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One of the most common errors encountered by VLC Media Player users is the inability to open the MRL file. This error occurs when your computer cannot find the target media file on local drives. Sometimes it is due to other factors.

If you don't know how to resolve the MRL file error, you've come to the right place. Fortunately, the error is well documented and solutions are available. Keep reading to find out how to fix your specific scenario.



VLC fails to open MRL – DVD

Sometimes VLC Media Player no longer plays DVDs, especially if you are using an external DVD or CD player. You will receive an error message informing you that VLC cannot 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 unsafe. Therefore, VLC Media Player cannot play the disc.

The solution is to disable 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.

If disabling a firewall doesn't work, you may need to completely uninstall your antivirus. Sometimes reinstalling VLC Media Player also works.

Although Windows Defender is probably not the cause of this error, you can also choose to disable its firewall. This may fix the problem, but it is not guaranteed.

Disable Windows Defender Firewall Service

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



  1. Click the Start button on your Windows PC.
  2. Go to settings.
  3. Select "Update & Security".
  4. Go to “Windows Security”.
  5. Then open “Firewall & Network Protection”.
  6. Choose a network profile.
  7. Disable the firewall.

Disabling your firewall can make your PC vulnerable to malware or hacking. Thus, we strongly advise against doing so unless you have no choice. If you want to let VLC have an exception, follow these instructions instead:

  1. Start from step five above.
  2. Choose a network profile.
  3. Instead of disabling your firewall, move your cursor down and click "Allow an app through firewall".
  4. Click on "Change settings".
  5. Scroll down the list of apps and find VLC Media Player.
  6. Check the box behind their name.
  7. Choose a network type to access networks.
  8. Confirm and save your settings.

While it's not common to see Windows Defender causing MRL issues, this knowledge is useful if it turns out that it's the program that's causing the problems.

However, if you don't want to disable your firewall for security reasons, there is another way.

Claim file ownership

If you claim ownership of the offending media file, your computer will no longer see it as a potential threat. You will fix the problem immediately after following these steps:



  1. Right-click on the file you want to claim ownership of.
  2. Select "Properties" from the drop-down menu.
  3. Go to the “Security” tab.
  4. Select the "Advanced" button to open a new menu.
  5. Click "Edit" near the top.
  6. In the box next to "Enter the object name", type "Administrator. " 
  7. Select "OK".
  8. Cochez la case qui dit « 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 all goes well, you can open the file on your external drive with the benefit of keeping your firewall intact.

VLC fails to open MRL on a Mac

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 solutions are to disable your Mac's firewall or even uninstall the antivirus software itself. Here's how to do the first:

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

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



VLC fails to open local MRL file

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

Take ownership of the file

As we discussed ownership in a previous section, taking possession tends to be the most effective solution. Your firewall will stay active and protect your computer from threats while you watch videos. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Right-click on the media file.
  2. Click on “Properties”.
  3. Switch to the "Security" tab among the various options.
  4. Go to advanced settings.
  5. Select "Edit" near the top.
  6. Type “Administrator” in the box associated with “Enter the Object Name. " 
  7. Cochez la case « 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 the use of an old copy. The solution is to uninstall VLC and get the latest update.

To reinstall the drive, be sure to follow the instructions below:

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

Disable firewalls

Sometimes it's your antivirus firewall that prevents you from opening the MRL. Follow the instructions for your specific program to disable it. Once your firewall protection is disabled, you should no longer encounter the error.

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

VLC fails to open MRL on YouTube

You can use VLC Media Player to watch YouTube videos, although Google isn't a big fan of it. Therefore, the company tries to make it difficult. Luckily, VLC 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. Once the process is complete, it is 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 the “playlist” in “lua”.
  5. Paste or drag the original into the folder.
  6. Launch VLC Media Player.

If you need to update your player, do that too.

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

VLC fails to open MRL with SMB

Even Linux users are not immune to MRL errors. In this case, you can fix things by providing VLC on Linux with credentials to access Samba. Since you got the error with SMB, we'll assume you know how to use Samba.

Here are the steps to resolve this issue:

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

Once you give VLC your Samba credentials, that should fix the problem. Playing media files remotely can be difficult, but you can enjoy videos with this solution.

VLC fails to open MRL screen //'

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

Here are the steps to resolve this issue:

  1. Download the plugin to your Linux device.
  2. Copy “sudo apt install vlc-plugin-access-extra” into your command line.
  3. Run it.
  4. Once the plugin installation is complete, you should be able to capture the screen.

An old mistake

The MRL error has been happening to users for many years now. Even so, the weather that people have encountered translates into solutions for various scenarios. With the proper knowledge, you can solve the problem quite quickly.

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

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