I am new to Ubuntu...I am using a computer with a locked hard drive. The computer was running WIN 8 and was inherited from a friend who passed on so we do not know his password. When I am in Ubuntu and click on the drive, I get an error message that the NTFS partition is in an unstable state and I should shutdown Windows fully with no hibernation or fast restarting but there is no way for me to get into the system since I do not know the password. If I want to see the hard drive, can I mount it in read only or if it is password protected will it not let me do this? Also, if I mount it in read only, will that affect the drive in a bad way?
You can mount the drive read only.
No side effects as far as I know, because disk content won't change.
To mount read only:
sudo mount -o ro /dev/sdbX /media/somedir
sdbX is the drive partition.
For more information check this question.