Have you experienced a VLC media player error where you are unable to open an MRL file? Are you trying to access a remotely located file in your VLC player but are unable to do so? This article focuses on why your VLC player displays the error and what are the quick and easy ways to fix it.

VLC is an open-source and free application by VideoLAN.  It is one of the most popular media players today as it can support a lot of audio and video compression methods. Although VLC player is a solid performing software, sometimes, certain issues can occur that creates a lot of frustration for its users.

The VLC has yet to fix the bug that is the cause of the “unable to open MRL” error. Therefore, we encourage you to try our alternative step by step fixes and figure out which one works best for you.

What Is VLC Error Unable To Open MRL?

VLC users report the error when they try to access a file that can be located on:

The error displays the following message and is followed by the path of the file that is causing the error.

“Your input can’t be opened” “VLC is unable to open MRL”.

What Are The Reasons For VLC Error Unable To Open MRL?

vlc error unable to open mrl

The VLC media player can show you the error due to a lot of reasons that can be:

  • An internal firewall roadblock
  • Problem with the host of the content that is remotely located
  • Corrupted VLC installation
  • VLC is missing updates
  • Proper permissions not assigned to the MRL file

How To Fix The VLC Error Unable To Open MRL?

vlc error unable to open mrl

Let’s take a look at our top 5 fixes for the VLC unable to open MRL error.

Verify That The Media Source Is Working

The first thing you should do is make sure that the remote media source is working.  To do this:

  • Open VLC player and click on Media in the toolbar
  • In the Media drop-down menu, click on Network Stream
  • Select the URL with which you are getting the error, right-click it, and click Copy
  • Open your web browser, go to its address bar, right-click it, and click Paste
  • Click Enter to access the URL to see if the media source is working
  • If you can’t access the URL, it indicates a problem with the streaming server itself or the URL is incorrect
  • Use another working URL and try to open it with the VLC player and verify the fix

Update The VLC Media Player

Sometimes, a VLC media player without the necessary updates can be the reason for the error. Therefore, you should always check and confirm that you are using the updated version of the software. To update your VLC player:

  • Open the VLC media player
  • Click on Help in the toolbar
  • In the Help drop-down menu, click Check for updates
  • If updates are available, click yes
  • Follow the installation wizard to install the downloaded VLC updates
  • After the updates are installed, restart your computer
  • Open VLC player and verify that now you can open MRL files from remote and local sources

Allow VLC Through Media Defender Firewall

Most of the time, the common cause of VLC unable to open MRL error is due to the firewall settings on your computer. Third-party solution firewalls can block the essential VLC ports that it needs to stream the remote source successfully. To allow VLC through a media defender forewall:

  • Open the Start Menu, and type in “Allow an app through windows firewall, and click the result
  • Click Change settings
  • Click Allow another app and Click Browse
  • Navigate to the VLC media player destination folder
  • Select the VLC.exe file, and click open, and click Add
  • Tick the private and public checkboxes next to VLC and click OK
  • Try to open the remote file and check if the fix worked for you

Furthermore, you can completely turn off your firewall and antivirus and reload the file on your VLC player to solve the issue as well.

Claim File Ownership

Quite a few users were able to fix the “VLC error unable to open MRL” by claiming ownership of the media files. This method works for those users who experience the same error while trying to open a local file. To do this:

  • Right-click the file that is causing the VLC unable to open MRL error, and click Properties
  • In the Properties Menu, Navigate to the Security Tab and Click Advanced
  • Click the Change button at the top which is next to the Owner Information
  • Click Advanced, and select “Find Now”
  • Select Administrators and click OK
  • Click OK again to save the changes
  • In the Advanced security settings window, click Apply and then click OK to close the Windows security settings
  • In the Properties window, click Edit
  • Select Administrators and uncheck all of the checkboxes for each permission entry in the Deny column
  • Click Apply and click OK
  • Try to open the media file with the VLC media player and verify the fix

Reinstall The VLC Media Player

If all of the above-mentioned fixes failed to solve the issue, you can uninstall the VLC media player from your computer and install a fresh copy from the VLC website. To do a fresh install:

  • Right-click the Start Menu Button and click Apps and Features
  • Locate the VLC media player, select the application, and click Uninstall
  • Check the Delete preferences and cache checkbox and click Uninstall
  • Open your browser and download the VLC media player from “https://videolan.org/vlc”
  • Open the downloaded file, run the Setup wizard, and follow the installation instructions
  • Reopen the file that is stored in a remote location and is causing the error. Verify that the VLC reinstallation has fixed the error



The VLC media player is a great software to play or stream a video. We hope this guide helped you fix the “VLC error unable to open MRL”. However, you can always contact VLC support if further guidance is needed for the error. Good Luck!!