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VLC is unable to open MRL Error Fixed

by James Parker
vlc is unable to open the mrl

VLC is a common application that most users feel comfortable to watch movies or videos. This easy to use application is supported on most PCs and even on android devices these days. But there might be issues in the functioning of this application as well. When a user tries to open a video that is located elsewhere, other than the system’s local disk, then there is every chance that a dialog box with the prompt, “VLC is unable to open MRL” might pop up on your windows and Linux screen or android and Blu-ray. This doesn’t mean that the application is not working properly. This is simply due to the firewall that inhibits the functioning of the application. The firewall that protects the system, thinks of the file you wish to play as a threat, thereby preventing the system from playing it. If you are facing these issues, then

Here are a few simple tricks that you can use to solve the issue. 

vlc is unable to open the mrl

1. Cross-check if the URL is working 

Normally, when people face the issue, “VLC is unable to open MRL”, it happens when users try to play videos from the online sources like YouTube. Before looking out for solutions to this problem, it is better to check if the URL is working fine in the first place. To perform this check, open the network system. Copy the URL that you are trying to play in VLC from the stream. Paste this URL in a different video player like MX player. Check if the video works fine without any issue. IF the video doesn’t play on any other video players, then the chances of it getting played in VLC is also nil. In this case, the issue most probably lies in the source URL and not in the VLC player. In that case, look for an alternative URL for the same video. If the same content is available on multiple websites, look for alternative websites. This is the only way to sort out the issue if the URL doesn’t play on any video player. 

2. Disabling firewall

As mentioned above, one of the most important reasons that a video is unable to play on VLC is the firewall. The firewall in anti-virus software may block the network stream and your video from playing. In that case, you can start with disabling the firewall. To disable the firewall in your system, in the antivirus software, open the firewall/firewall settings. From the list of applications in the firewall, click on VLC and disable the firewall for this application. Most anti-virus has this kind of setup, which you can make use of to stop the firewall from blocking the video. 

Alternatively, you can also use the system’s inbuilt firewall instead of the third-party firewall. 

Press Windows+R key to open the run command box, in this, type appwiz.cpl. From the programs and features window, uninstall the third-party firewall by rich clicking and uninstalling the same. Follow the prompts on the screen and proceed further. Reboot your computer to ensure that the changes have been made. 

Check if the issue has been sorted out. 

At times, the windows firewall defender may also have a role to play in stopping your video. Try disabling the Windows defender as well to make sure you have an uninterrupted video time.

3. Disabling the antivirus

Most of us use a third party anti-virus software to protect our system from unknown sources. In most cases, anti-virus software works efficiently in safeguarding our files and data. But at times, over-protective anti-virus software can hinder the normal functioning of the system. One such issue that happens with the VLC media player is the “Unable to open MRL” pop-up. Whatever be the Anti-virus software that you are using, you can use the settings in the antivirus to turn off the real-time protection. It is better to disable the anti-virus for a while to check if the video is getting played, rather than switching off or uninstalling the entire anti-virus software. You can enable the software anytime after you are done watching the video to put your antivirus back to work. 

4. Install the recent version of VLC

vlc is unable to open the mrl

The VLC media player is constantly ring upgraded to match the requirements of the recent and advanced software’s. In this case, if you have an older version of VLC in your system, then there is every chance that the prompt, “Windows is unable to open MRL” might pop up on your screen. TO correct this issue, uninstall the older version of VLC that you have and install the advanced or recent version. 

To uninstall the existing version, open the run command box, by pressing Windows+R. In the space available, type appwiz.cpl. When you run this command, a program and feature window, containing all the applications would come up. From the list of applications, select the current version of VLC. Right-click and select uninstall. A few prompt boxes would come up, follow and proceed further. Reboot your computer for the changes to take place. 

From the internet, look for the advanced version of VLC media player. Make sure that the version you are downloading is compatible it the operating system in your system. Install a new VLC version in your system and try playing the video with the issue. Check if the issue has been sorted out. IF the problem persists then try the next solution. 

5. Changing the ownership of the file

When trying to play a video of VLC player, the issue “unable to open MRL” occurs Anila to the files that are not located in the system’s local disk. This is because the system considers the video as an external threat. To change this, he can simply change the ownership of the file. By claiming ownership, the system considers the video as a safe file and hence allows the user to open the same. 

TO change the ownership of the file that you are working with, right-click on the file and select Properties from the drop-down menu. For the prompt box that opens up, select security and clicks on the advanced option from the permission. Click on the change button and in the box adjacent to it, type “Administrator”. In the check box below, which tells about the child object permission, click on the check box and select apply to make sure that the changes have been applied. Close the tabs and try playing the video using VLC player. 


1. How do I open MRL files with VLC?

MRL files can cause an issue when you try opening it with VLC, mainly because the source of the file is not on the local disk of the user’s system. In this case, you have to make a few changes in the system, like disabling the firewall from blocking or disabling the third party anti-virus from preventing your file from playing. Alternatively, you can also use an advanced version of the VLC by replacing your existing version. This is because the outdated version may not support all files. You can also change the ownership of the file, to permit the system to play the file without any interruption. 

2. Can anti-Virus affect the VLC player?

The answer to this question could be quite tricky. This is because anti0virus has no role t play int eh functioning of the player. However, if the source file that you are trying to play is from an external course, this could either be the internet or an external hard-drive. Then, in that case, the anti-virus may consider your files as a potential threat and prevent it from playing. This is where anti-virus prevents the normal functioning of the VLC media player. If not for this, anti-virus has no role to play in the functioning of a video player. 

3. How to fix VLC crashes while playing mrl files?

The VLC media player may crash due to a variety of reasons. This includes corrupted files and compatibility with the system. The simplest way is to fix the corrupted files. There are a few cases in which, a few setting in the application might have been altered. This could be one another reason why the VLC media player may crash. To fix this issue, you can either change the settings to the correct ones, or you can even reinstall and uninstall VLC media player to avoid this issue. 


MRL files just like all other files can work on VLC. There is no such thing as MRL files are not supported on VLC. It is the source of the file that makes an issue. In this case, we need to rectify the source and make sure that the system supports the source. In most cases, the issue lies with the source file. VLC supports videos in many formats and MRL is just one among the many. If you find an issue with the MRL file, then check for the source of the file. Start simple, by checking if the source file works fine with all other media players. By doing this we can ensure that the source file is working just fine. A few other methods to check and fix the issue of MRL file are mentioned above. In most cases, “VLC is unable to open MRL” error can be sorted out by following any one of the above methods. However, uninstalling the ant-virus is not a recommended solution. It is better to disable and enable the anti-virus to make sure that your system remains protected, while you enjoy your videos. 

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