I briefly tried deleting from the command line, can't remember if I tried wildcards, and got a message about file name being too long. But... kudos to f0dder!
chkdsk did the job - eventually. Basic "chkdsk" works, but as soon as I added a switch, "/f", it complained that I didn't have rights and it needed to be elevated. I'm using Vista Home Premium from a user account with UAC On... So I logged off, logged back on as administrator, tried again - only to find the same thing.
I can't remember exactly what I did then, but I copied chkdsk.exe to the root of the USB drive, fiddled about with its Properties to make it "Run as admin," and somewhere along the way it ran "chkdsk /f". There's a thread similar to this elsewhere on DC, where Carol Haynes notes (from memory) that "chkdsk /x" would be more appropriate in these cases. In fact my "chkdsk /f" instantly turned itself into "/x" because it said the drive had to be dismounted. At last it ran, I accepted the defaults about changing to a file etc., and was able to delete the mess. Windows didn't try very hard to make it easy, though.
Along the way I learnt a few things. I didn't know that USB devices have serial numbers, and can also have labels, and that SyncBack Pro
can recognise either or both as a way of uniquely identifying a particular USB device, so you only run the right profile against it. USB Safely Remove
, which is on Bits du Jour again on Wednesday 9th June, can conveniently give USB devices permanent letters, i.e., as I understand it, a particular USB device is always recognised as "g:\" or whatever. Presumably it too understands serial numbers.
I didn't try Unlocker because I thought that was mainly for deleting files that Windows thought were still in use, even where they weren't. It's very useful for that situation, but this situation seemed different.