MetaFiler takes advantage of some of the more advanced features
of the NTFS file system. NTFS supports what are known as
Named Streams. Named Streams
are separate data associated with a traditional file.
Microsoft use Named Streams to allow Macintosh Resource Forks to
be saved and served using Windows Services for Macintosh (SFM).
Because Named Streams are invisible to most applications, Windows
users can see the same files as Macintosh users while Macintosh
users get the features they need for their platform.
Microsoft also use Named Streams for caching thumbnails in the
Explorer Thumbnail view. This means that thumbnails only ever need
to be generated once instead of every time you view the file.
Unfortunately some of the APIs for accessing Named Streams are
complicated, fairly low level and badly documented - something
which has always limited adoption. However MetaFiler hides all
these complications for you and just lets you get on with what you
want to do.
Because Named Streams are essential for Windows, Microsoft has
ensured that products work properly with them wherever it's
necessary. So although you may not be able to see Named Streams,
when you copy files from one place to another the streams will go
with the file. Similarly, if you use backup software, all streams
are backed up, not just the ones you can see.
Because MetaFiler is Unicode compliant throughout, you can use
it with any language from English to Arabic to Korean.