Windows 10 (latest) updates ate up my disk space?


New Member
Hi all, I'm new to the forum.
Basically I register mainly to ask this question.
I have a older laptop with an older SSD where I installed Windows 10 (Version 21H1, OS Build 19043.1348) on drive C with the diligently maintained 10-12 Gb of free disk space. I rarely install anything new because I have almost all the tools that I use.
Recently, after this Windows update that tried to (test and) update my system to Windows 11 (for which my system is not compatible due to an older CPU), I found out that there is only around 5 Gb of free space left on drive C.
I tried the usual methods to free up disk space, e.g.
- Right-click drive C --> Properties --> Disk cleanup --> Cleanup system files
- Settings --> System --> Storage --> Temporary files --> Remove files
In particular, "Temporary files" used up almost 4 Gb of space but I am able to remove only in the range of 100-300Mb with the "Remove files" function, i.e. other temporary files are not shown there.
With the application "Everything", I found out that the largest files that I been recently updated on drive C are:
- ext4.vhdx (~ 12Gb) as virtual hard drive for WLS2 which is pretty much quite stable in size
- pagefile.sys (~5.5Gb) the memory cache, which I can't do too much about it with my 8Gb system memory
- winre.wim (~1.7Gb) in the C:\Recovery\WindowsRE folder
- Windows.edb (~0.8Gb) in the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows
As seen above, I can remove some Windows restore points (to reduce winre.wim) and/or to rebuild the search database (Windows.edb) with a less generous search indexing range in the system. But these are all not exactly what I fancy to do if what takes up my disk space (unnecessarily) is some kind of Windows 11 update cache.
I hope someone can give me some insight about what else I can do to reclaim my already quite limited disk space.