How to Fix the “VLC is unable to open MRL file” Error

VLC is a popular media player that people can download for free. It supports a variety of audio and video formats, making it the preferred media player by a lot of users worldwide. 

All that said, VLC doesn’t come without its own set of flaws and inconsistencies. People can still experience errors and glitches while using the application

One of the most common of these errors is the “VLC is unable to open the MRL file” error. This can put a damper on a user’s enjoyment and downtime. 

In this article, we show you exactly how to fix the “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error on your computer. We also talk a little about what MRL files are and what causes reading errors to occur. 

Keep reading for more details!


Table of Contents

What is an MRL File?

To put it simply, MRL is what helps VLC retrieve multimedia resources from their source. Short for “Media Resource Locator,” MRLs are a string of special characters that work as a map, leading VLC to the file that you want to play. 


What causes the “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error?

There are several reasons why a “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error could occur on your computer. These include ownership issues, incorrect URL sources, obsolete VLC clients, and even an overprotective firewall. 

Depending on the file type that you’re trying to open, error messages may even contain different details. 

For instance, some error messages might say, “VLC is unable to open the mrl ‘dvd:///d:/’. check the log for details.” Others may contact prefixes like ‘rtsp://[file name]’ or ‘https://[file name]’.


How to fix the “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error?

If you’re unsure how to get rid of the error, no pressure. Most people wouldn’t have a clue how to do it either.

Luckily, this article will show you how to fix the “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error in various situations. 


How to fix the “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error on DVD

With the rise of digital streaming platforms and online content distribution, DVDs have all but become obsolete. For those who still have an internal/external DVD or CD player for their laptop, MRL file errors may occur. 

The usual suspect: a skittish antivirus software or firewall. 

Third-party antivirus software tend to flag external devices as “harmful” or “dangerous.” This prevents VLC from making a connection with said device.

To solve this error, you need to exempt VLC media player from your firewall’s protection.

How to exempt VLC media player from Windows Defender

Here’s how to fix the “VLC is unable to open the mrl” error on windows 10:

  • Go to “Control Panel” on your computer. 
  • Select “System and Security.”

  • Next, click on “Windows Defender Firewall.”

  • Select “Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall” on the left-hand window.

  • Click “Change Settings.”

  • Look for “VLC media player” from the list of apps. Untick the box under the “Private” column. 
  • Click “OK” to save your preferences. 

If the problem truly is being caused by your firewall, this process should solve the issue. However, if it doesn’t, you may proceed to the next solution. 

How to claim file ownership 

Claiming ownership of the media file is another way to stop Windows Defender from seeing your media file as a threat. To do this, perform the following steps: 

  • Right-click on the file that you want to claim and select “Properties.”

  • Go to the “Security” tab.

  • Select “ Advanced” below the Permissions for SYSTEM tab.

  • Click “Change” beside the line that says “Owner.”

  • Type in administrator name in the box.

  • Click “OK” to save your preferences. 
  • This will take you back to the previous dialog box. Click “Replace all child object permission entries…” at the bottom of the page.

  • Click “Apply” to change the settings on the other components of your file. 
  • Try to open your media file once more. 

VLC media player should be able to play your media file now. 


How to fix the “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error for a local file

You may also experience this error outside of using a DVD or CD player. If you’re dealing with a local file that’s facing the same “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error, here’s what you can do. 

Claim file ownership

Similar to what we did in the previous example, you can claim ownership of the file in question. That way, your computer won’t think twice about letting VLC media player access it. 

The process t for this is the same as we showed you in the previous example. Please refer here for more instructions. 

Uninstalling and reinstalling VLC media player

Sometimes VLC media player can experience installation issues that lead to this type of error later on. To fix this, uninstalling and reinstalling the application is necessary. 

To uninstall VLC media player from your PC, here are the steps to follow: 

  • Go to “Control Panel” on your computer and click “Uninstall a Program.”

  • Look for VLC media player on the list of programs. Left-click on the program name then select “Uninstall/Change” from the top options.

  • Confirm your selection and wait for the process to complete. 

Once done, you can proceed to reinstall the program using the following steps: 

  • Go to the VLC media player’s official website.

  • Select “Download VLC” and follow the installation instructions. Now, you should be all set to watch whatever you want on VLC. 



VLC media player is a flexible media tool, but it doesn’t come without its own set of faults. MRL errors are the most common type of error that VLC users experience. And while it can be frustrating to deal with, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. 

If you’re experiencing a “VLC is unable to open MRL file” error, the solutions we mentioned above should be able to help. Be sure to check them out to see which one fits your situation best.