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In this work, a new analytical approach is used to evaluate the error performance of bit-patterned media (BPM) magnetic recording channels that employ one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) generalized partial response (GPR) equalizers to combat the significant inter-track interference (ITI) expected in BPM magnetic recording systems. The probability density function of ITI is obtained analytically and is used to estimate the bit error rate (BER) from the Viterbi detector. The proposed method takes into account most of the important factors affecting the BER such as ITI, un-equalized intersymbol interference (ISI), colored noise and the distance and the multiplicity of error events. In this work, it is shown that for 1D channels, modeling ITI and un-equalized ISI by Gaussian PDFs leads to inaccurate BERs and that the non-Gaussian distribution of the ITI and un-equalized ISI must be taken into account for more accurate BER estimates. This method provides fast and accurate estimates of BERs for moderate to high signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). By using this analytical method, time-consuming numerical simulations for error performance evaluation can be avoided.