Thanks, I am aware of the empty lines issue, however this was actually one of the problems I had with how Windows handles INI files. In previous versions, most INI files ended up with random numbers of empty lines, or with empty lines removed, after long periods of use. The INI routines in the new version of mIRC will consistently use empty lines where necessary and will remove any extraneous empty lines.
Regarding the encoding issue, this is by design. Since mIRC is now a Unicode application, it will consistently load and save files as UTF-8. This is built-in to the core file routines and applies to all text files.