I wanted to put this out in this forum as a warning for future searching. I was ripping my hair out for awhile on this one.
Attached are two files that I finally boiled my debug down to. What's the difference? The broken one has the BOM (byte order mark) included in the UTF-8 format. This is essentially a header to a text file. EVERY text editor just skips over the bytes, so I had to find this with a hex reader. What this did is render first section "unfindable" to key reading.
The conversion somehow happened while using Notepad++ to edit my INI files (somehow... still not sure). Fixing it is as simple as selecting "Encoding", "Encode in UTF-8 without BOM". Funny enough, another way to fix it is to just add a blank or header line to the top of the file.
Now that I'm past the warning, I wanted to get a general sense if this is well-known. (debating on adding an Idea Exchange to either error if the wrong BOM for native, or skip if correct).
Never seen it with an ini file before, but I have seen the BOM break other file parsers.
If a parser can't deal with those unexpected* bytes at the start, you're going to have a bad time.