Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
There are a couple things to look at if IE doesn't allow the selection of a default mail handler.
Why does IE not allow the selection of a default mail handler?
In this case the person asking also reported that the actual drop-down selection box was blank.
If clicking the little down arrow at the right of the selection box results in an empty list, then some configuration information is missing from the system to let it know the available programs that could fill the role as default email client.
I'd first make sure that you were logged in as an administrator since that's required to make this change. But assuming you are, I'd run a system file check to see if something's broken and possibly even reinstall IE6 to force it to rebuild the settings.
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