The mechanical properties of pure carbon (C) and carbon-nitrogen (C:N) coatings on thin film head sliders were investigated by continuous drag testing (CDT) and nano-indentation. Comparisons were made in terms of wear protection, elastic modulus and hardness of these two types of carbon films. The C and C:N thin films with various thickness were deposited on thin film head sliders using a facing target sputtering (FTS) system. After 23,000 revolutions of CDT tests, all the testing head sliders which were uncoated and coated with 90 angstrom C or C:N exhibited some degree of wear damage as indicated in AFM micrographs where that of the uncoated head was the most severe and that of the C:N coated head was the least. Head sliders coated with 1000 angstrom C and C:N were studied under the Triboscope nano-indenter, where load-displacement curves at different maximum loads were recorded. Elastic modulus and hardness were determined from those curves. The results show that elastic modulus and hardness of C:N are greater than that of C. Therefore, one may conclude that both C and C:N behave like a protective coating for the head slider where C:N is better than C, which could be well related to the larger elastic modulus and hardness of C:N.