A highly reliable, low overhead method for determining a position of a magnetic storage medium that is divided into a plurality of servo sections is provided. The inventive method includes defining a predetermined bit pattern that corresponds to a known position of the magnetic storage medium. A positional index bit is associated with each servo section such that a known bit of the predetermined bit pattern is associated with the known position of the magnetic storage medium. A current positional index bit is read from the magnetic storage medium and a positional bit sequence comprising the current positional index bit is formed. The positional bit sequence is compared with the predetermined bit pattern and, based on the comparison, whether the position of the magnetic medium is the known position can be determined.