Electron microscopy has been used to determine directly the effect of artificially introduced roughness on the micromagnetic processes that occur in soft high moment multilayer films. The nanodefects, introduced to roughen the substrate, and the local magnetic domain structure were identified in the same images, leading to unambiguous information on the role played by the former. Characteristic of the micromagnetic state of the samples was a high density of 360° wall segments that showed quite remarkable resistance to annihilation. Following a description of the domain walls generated in both easy and hard axis magnetization cycles, a model is proposed for the way the observed domain walls respond when their ends are strongly pinned and, using this, we account for their continued existence over an extended number of magnetization cycles. Finally, the implications for device performance are discussed briefly.