Tribological studies of friction and wear were performed on carbon overcoated thin-film magnetic recording media with pin-on-disk tests. Scanning microellipsometry was employed to measure the wear of carbon overcoats on rigid magnetic media. Severe wear produced after the carbon film wore through was measured by mechanical profilometry. The wear rate of the carbon is three orders of magnitude lower than that of the underlying metallic layers and is nearly proportional to slider load. Micrographs of the wear tracks and the magnitude of the wear coefficient from the Archard wear equation indicate three-body abrasive wear.