I would like to disable auto detection or listing of certain partitions in applications such as Nautilus. I have a HP laptop that contains a recovery partition along with a EFI partition and I would like to hide/disable them so they are not visible to any Ubuntu user to prevent accidentally changing these. Can this be done?
You can alter the user privileges and revoke the right to mount filesystems. Take a look at "System settings -> user management -> edit user" or something similar on your system.
A more radical approach is to use GParted and enable the "hidden" flag for the partitions you wish to hide. BE WARNED that this will also hide them from the boot process - the partitions will be completely hidden from your system. Also, if the boot-loader is installed on one of these partitions you will have to move it to be able to boot. In other words, use this method only if you don't care about dual-booting.