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Thin-film magnetic recording media are reviewed in this paper. Although the magnetic materials and deposition processes are necessarily discussed, this paper is intended to review film media from a broader perspective than is usually found in the literature. Therefore, the subjects of applications, magnetic properties pertinent to recording, materials and processes, and reliability receive balanced attention. Moreover, within the materials and processes section and the reliability section, the topics of substrate preparation, overcoats, and mechanical and chemical stability are addressed as issues which are as important as the magnetic properties themselves. Rather than grouping film media according to the type of deposition process used (sputtered, plated, etc.) as is often done, media are grouped according to the type of magnetic anisotropies exploited and whether they are metallic or not. This classification better reflects the recording performance observed in the various film media.