A magnetic medium including a physical reference feature for conveying positional information to a magnetic read/write head. The reference feature is made by indelibly marking a pattern on a surface of the medium such as by inscribing the metal oxide coating on the medium surface or by chemical etching or photolithography of the surface. Magnetic data is written on the surface of the medium and when data written on the reference feature is read, a modulated read back signal is observed which indicates the position of the reference feature. The position of the reference feature is used to direct the read/write head to track zero or to some other position on the medium surface. By using a second magnetic read/write head to write data on a second surface of the medium in response to the modulated readback signal, an electronic reference track can be written on the second surface for providing positional information to the second magnetic read/write head.