|Do it like Richard said. If the original partition filled the entire drive and it was NTFS and someone didn't scrub the drive, you may find files.|
The fact the drive is SATA indicates it isn't that old, so it most likely was formatted NTFS.
If the drive came out of a pre-configured computer then there may have been a recovery partition in addition to the working partition.
If you really want to play with this drive then you could partition it and then try assigning a drive letter in Disk Management without formatting it. Then try using Easeus Partition recovery to reconstruct the original partitions. Then use recuva.
The key with recuva is the drive must have a letter assignment before it can access the drive.
Even without doing that recuva may find files. I am guessing you wiped the drive anticipating giving the desktop away and then removed the hard drive as an extra precaution.
I would say this to you. Don't save anything to hard drive that you want to keep out of others hands. I never save passwords, bank account numbers, etc. on my hard drives.
Get Easeus Partition Recovery from the link below.