Nanocomposite coatings consisting of preformed silver or chromium nanoparticles embedded into a hydrogenated amorphous carbon matrix (a-C:H) were synthesized by Electron Cyclotron Resonance plasma assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (ECR-CVD). In a first step, the nanoparticles were distributed on silicon substrates by dipping in an ethanol suspension. In a second step, the ECR-CVD deposition of the a-C:H layer was done. The effect of the incorporation and the concentration on the friction and wear behavior was derived from unlubricated reciprocating sliding tests performed in ambient air. A decrease in the coefficient of friction, more intense with Cr incorporation, is induced by the preferential metal interaction with environment. In addition, for both metals, the coefficient of friction becomes lower as the metal concentration increases. A gradual increase in the coefficient of friction is detected for increasing the number of sliding cycles, which is attributed to the combined effect of surface smoothing and oxidation in the sliding contact. In conclusion, the valuable protective properties of the fullerene-like a-C:H coatings are enhanced by metal addition. As a consequence, a considerable reduction of the surface roughness and the volume loss in the wear tracks is especially noticeable for 10,000 cycles tests. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.