Linux should recognise any IDE disk. It obtains the information passed over by the BIOS, no need to mount it. The IDE hard drive should appear just a "raw device". The standard 4 IDE devices are always called /dev/hda, /dev/hdb, /dev/hdc & /dev/hdd.
You only mount a partition foreign to Linux or not available at the time you install the distro.
The protection of Windows goes down the drain the moment you log in a the root user in a Linux. As a root user you have the privilege to mount a Windows partition and see all its files, including the hidden system files. You can edit and change all of them!
The only thing stopping you from doing it is the NT version of Windows' NTFS filing system which the standard Linux reads but cannot write (there are experimental Linux programs that can write NTFS partitions though). If the Windows is stored in a FAT partition then it is as good as dead to a Linux in security terms.