Can't clean up old updates


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Feb 10, 2016
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I have been trying for quite a while now to clean up old updates on my mothers computer, partly in an effort to prepare for Windows 10.
The partition is about 50G. Update needs around 20G. Currently around 17G free.
This is an older computer dual core Pentium D, 3G memory. She emails and surfs and not much else.
All updates are installed as far as I can tell.
I run cleanup, rerun after selecting system files. Tells me I have about 5G to clean up.
Say go ahead clean up, but it removes nothing, or very little, based on the size of the free space before and after.
Then I reboot. I get messages that updates are being configured. Gets to about 7% then gives
"Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes. Do not turn off your computer"
The error log created basically takes all the remaining disk space and takes over 2 hours to complete before I can finally log on.

I have run sfc /scannow, shows no problems
I have rebooted into safe mode to run the cleanup. That doesn't help.
I have rebooted in a clean boot. That doesn't help.
I have run DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth.
That results in 4 files showing corrupt, which is supposed to be a known (non)issue, relating to hyphenation and spelling which I read are related to an upgrade to windows explorer 11 from 10, and might cause problems with getting explorer 11 installed, but that isn't an issue, since 11 seems to have installed fine. I was told to leave the files in question alone (sorry, I'm typing this on a different computer and don't have the exact files at hand).
Services appear to be running properly, depending on clean boot or not. Default state seems to be consistent with Black Viper's analysis
I have not done a repair from disk yet.
If I check for updates, it takes 2 hours (thanks microsoft) and tells me the system is up to date.
If I reboot and do NOT do the cleanup, I get no windows update getting prepared screen. Only if I clean up the windows update files first.

If disk clean is writing a log somewhere with errors in it, I can't find it. Managing my computer and looking at the logs is not giving me any clues.

I am at a loss to know how to proceed except a repair from disk, but I don't know what that will buy me.
Any suggestions?
 
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