Modifier Is Disabled

I am receiving this error message whenever I try to apply a subsurf modifier to any of my objects in this particular blend file. I even receive the error message when I create a new object and try to apply a SubSurf Modifier to it.

I am using 2.56a on Windows XP 32.

The file was originally created in 2.49 but I’m not sure that has much to do with it because I have imported other 2.49 Blender files into 2.56a without any problem using modifiers.

I have searched both this forum and the wiki and have not come up with anything on point. The wiki doesn’t really have anything at all on error messages, and this one is a pretty cryptic one.

Any general notions or rules of thumb around what might cause this error message?

Thanks in advance!