File meta data is stored within the file system and directories. It tracks information about each of the file which is typically referred to as file attributes. File attributes include size of a file, is it a directory, a symbolic link, a regular file, determine if the file is hidden, retrieve the last modified time and find when a file was created.
Straight up Java
Java 7 File I/O
The BasicFileAttributes Javadoc states:
If the file system implementation does not support a time stamp to indicate the time when the file was created then this method returns an implementation specific default value, typically the last-modified-time or a FileTime representing the epoch (1970-01-01T00:00:00Z).