Rinse, repeat

On Tom's hardware, there is a question My 120 GB portable drive has some corrupted files that I can't delete ... How do I wipe the drive or delete the corrupted data?

The answer goes obvious, just copy all the good data you need (if any), and format the drive. This definitely resolves any software corruption which may be present.

The less obvious option would be to run CHKDSK /F, then reset permissions on the folders, then delete the folders and files. Format would just be more simple, faster, and generally more definite.

However, another poster chimes in saying to use XP setup CD and delete [the partition] completely,then create a drive again...do this 2-3 times and ur hdd is all clean. This is
  1. not precisely true, because deleting the partition and then re-creating it does not wipe out the data (so the drive does not become all clean, it is still subject to unformat), and
  2. not needed, because only the first time matters - on the subsequent delete-create cycles the system does not delete more data than already deleted during the first cycle.

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