Does Windows Update download and update in the background even though Updates are turned off?

I have a client trying to run my Access 10 application on a 32bit machine running Win8.1, with 2GB RAM and a 40GB Hard Drive.  (Not joking.)

She claims it is a fairly new machine (which I don't believe).  She claims my application used to work but now doesn't.  It gives insufficient disk space messages.  She removed a printer in the hope that it would save space.  Now she can't re-install it or even copy a small file.

I deleted everything I could, but as fast as I did it, the disk kept filling up until there was absolutely no space left.  My questions:

1. Could Windows Updates be filling the space as it becomes available?

2. Is it possible that 8.1 worked when first installed but subsequent Updates have taken up the remaining space?

Thanks in advance.
Clive BeatonAccess DeveloperAsked:
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crystal (strive4peace) - Microsoft MVP, AccessRemote Training and ProgrammingCommented:
it is possible that Windows is using the available space for caching

here is a Guide to Freeing up Disk Space under Windows 8.1
Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
Sounds like a tablet with an SSD for drive C.

The answer to 1. and 2. is to right-click drive C, select Properties, Functions, Disk Cleanup.
Then click "Clean up system files", enter admin credentials, mark all items listed to delete, and click OK.

Besides running the disk cleanup wizard, also delete the contents of C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Downloads

Besides that, Windows 8.x could have many crapps installed, which could go online and collect data, so either uninstall those crapps or at least disable them.

40GB is a rather small disk for Windows 8.x (the OS alone uses between 20GB and 30GB, without any other software or data). So either make sure everything non-OS gets installed to another disk/partition, or get a larger disk.
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Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
Or do an update to Windows 10. It takes less than 20GB after cleanup.

Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
FWIW, ...I'm with rindi, ...

40GB is way too small for today's space requirements.
Even if you deleted every possible un-needed file, ...this size disk would still be insufficient for today's software.
If you are already at the point where you are worrying if windows updates are taking too much space (and deleting printers)...
...You are effectively "Out of space" already.

In other words, ...even if you deleted every non-essential file, ...and got the db to run, would be still on the very edge of the drives capacity.  
Meaning that you could not really add any more files.
(My Documents, temp files, ...etc)

500 GB hard drives can be had for around $50 USD
At that price, upgrading the HD should be a no-brainer...

There is only so much you can "Clean" off of a drive that small, before you start possibly digging too deep and deleting needed files.


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Clive BeatonAccess DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everone.  From everything I learned, I think a bigger disk is the answer.

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