I have FreeNAS server partially set up on an HP Microserver, but just realized that I may lose all my extended attribute metadata on the files that come from my Macs (which is what most of my computers are). This metadata is somewhat important to me, so if FreeNAS will lose this data then maybe I need to rethink my strategy.

I was going to use FreeNAS for both Time Machine backup and as a file server, so the metadata would be relevant in both cases.

Will FreeNAS keep the metadata if I connect to it using AFP, or will it lose the metadata?


FreeNAS supports the creation of AFP file shares for general use with OS X systems. For Time Machine backups, you need to make sure to specifically enable Time Machine support (Disk Discovery enabled and type set to Time Machine) on a particular AFP share you intend to use.

Further clarification: AFP currently supports Unicode file names, POSIX and access control list permissions, resource forks, named extended attributes, and advanced file locking.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Filing_Protocol

  • AFP can be used to export HFS+, NFS and UFS mounts. As such, it should have no issue with extended attributes (which is just the Tiger-and-later extension of resource forks). – Trane Francks Jan 28 '15 at 11:21
  • I've updated my answer to address your concerns. – Trane Francks Jan 28 '15 at 11:27
  • I could be mistaken, but I think it can also support ZFS on FreeNAS... – iconoclast Jan 28 '15 at 17:03
  • In the context of the question, ZFS support on FreeNAS is not equivalent to HFS+/AFP support. Moreover, to support Time Machine backups, AFP must be used; it is not optional. – Trane Francks Jan 28 '15 at 22:00
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    It would not surprise me if a non-Apple system that claimed to support AFP & Time Machine (and mostly did so) did not actually save rarely-used meta-data. (How many people actually add their own extended attributes to files?) – iconoclast Feb 1 '15 at 0:30

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