I've never tried going that route, so I did and I get the same thing.
The way I edit existing symbols is by using the drop down box near the top. This has never failed. (See attached image)
I think that when you use that method (with or without checking the "specify on screen" checkbox) ACADE assumes you are making a new symbol since you didn't select an existing one to edit. That behavior may have changed at some point because I seem to remember being able to pick a symbol using the "Select Objects" button in the past and it worked just like picking one from the drop down. But that was early on and I may be mistaken.
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