I am opening a remote file with this command:

[n]vim scp://user@host/relative_file

Vim (8.2) opens the file correctly, but Neovim (v0.5.0-dev+1186-g8665a96b9) just shows a blank file and a blank NetrwMessage buffer. When I try to open it again with :e in Neovim, an error is printed:

Error detected while processing function netrw#Nread[4]..netrw#NetRead:
line  261:
E121: Undefined variable: b:netrw_method
E116: Invalid arguments for function s:NetrwGetFile
E15: Invalid expression: s:NetrwGetFile(readcmd, tmpfile, b:netrw_method)

Seems the problem of b:netrw_method but I can't find useful information about it on the Internet. How to solve this error?

Extra Info

If I use :w to write, the remote file is successfully overwritten by an empty file.

I am on a Windows machine.

  • 1
    FWIW, that line of code should only execute if b:netrw_method is already defined and set to 4 (autoload/netrw.vim:2241).
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jul 10, 2021 at 19:56
  • 1
    I would try updating netrw to the latest version: drchip.org/astronaut/vim/index.html Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 9:24
  • Unfortunately, both upgrading Neovim (to v0.6.0-dev) and netrw are not helpful. And same result on WSL (nvim 0.5.0-dev) Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 3:01

1 Answer 1


I encountered this same error and found that my copy of the netrw plugin .vim/plugin/netrwPlugin.vim was extremely out of date. I've been carrying around a copy of my .vim directory for years. The latest installed versions of vim have been advancing but my old copy of the plugin wasn't.

Updating the plugin file fixed my issue.



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