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Since you mention Microsoft Word, I assume that you are on Windows.
For many programs there may be difficulties when installing a new version that is much newer than the version you have currently installed. E.g. upgrade Flash Player 7 to Flash Player 11, I would recommend to uninstall the old version before installing the new version.
Upgrading from Flash Player 10.x to 11.x should not be a problem. However, even if you uninstall the old version before installing a new one, that will work fine, as all your setting will be preserved.
On the other hand, if you experience some problems with Flash Player, a clean install is also recommended. See http://forums.adobe.com/thread/928315
Thanks so much to you Pat. I didn't expect such a quick response tonight but checked just before putting the cat out. I will uninstall the 1st version, start with a clean slate (I hope) ... still a bit wary of trusting that this machine will "do what its told" - and I am convinced it will be here after I'm long gone. Lol, and thanks again.
Do we also have to do a uninstall with the flash player 21.x.x.x release upgrade to 21.x.x.y ?
Thanks for answers !
It's not necessary to uninstall the previous version before installing the upgrade as the installer takes care of uninstalling the previous version prior to installing the upgrade. However, if you are switching between beta and release versions, yes, you'll first need to install what's on the system before installing the other version. For example, if you have a beta version installed and want to install a release version, you'll first need to use the latest beta uninstaller to uninstall the beta version before installing the release version. Same is true if you have a release versions and want to install a beta version.
However, with that said, depending on your situation you may want to do so. If you provide more details about your deployment strategy, we'll be able to provide further guidance.