Nope, sorry, there's no way to do what you're asking. Without wiping the drive, and even after, there's no way to guarantee that some info doesn't still remain. Wiping the drive makes it near infinitely more likely that no one will ever retrieve the data on there, but it's still no guarantee. The only real guarantee is to physically destroy the drive.
I'd wipe the drive, and just tell the place you're donating it to that they'll need to spend $20 on a new optical drive. They're still making out pretty well. A new computer for $20 and probably 10 minutes work? A bargain! And if one place complains, then just take the computer to some other charitable organization that would be glad to take it as-is.
I'm replacing my computer and would like to donate the old one. I need to delete my info but would like to keep the OS on if possible (so some poor nonprofit doesn't have to buy it again). Unfortunately, the CD drive is broken and so I can't use the restore CD after wiping the disk. It's a Lenovo R61e laptop with Windows Vista Home Basic.
I read on another thread that you can create a new username on Vista and delete your old one- will that do anything? Or should I just completely wipe the drive and forget about saving the OS?
Thanks for your help.