Cu, Co and Ni thin films and Co–Ni–Cu/Cu multilayers have been electrodeposited directly on n-type silicon substrates. This removes the need of using a seed-layer deposited by some other methods as a part of the growth process and integrates an efficient, inexpensive and convenient method for fabricating thin films with silicon technology. The deposits were prepared under potentiostatic conditions from different aqueous solutions, containing basically: (i) sulphates of the metallic ions plus sodium sulphate and boric acid for thin films and (ii) Ni sulphamate, Co sulphate, Cu sulphate, boric acid and sulphamic acid for multilayers. Aspects related to the deposition process and deposited layers were investigated by cyclic voltammetry, current transients, scanning electron microscopy, Rutherford backscattering and magnetoresistance measurements. Typically, thin compact metallic layers with regular granularity were obtained. Depending on the additives used, different nucleation and growth mechanisms were observed. Magnetic multilayers with a maximum giant magnetoresistive (GMR) ratio of about 10% were produced.