This article barely scratches the surface of all the things you can do with XML. These programs use very simple XML files to save and restore simple values. You can use a similar technique to save and restore configuration settings, form placement, and other information when a program starts and stops.
XML goes a lot farther than this, however. The document could hold a complicated hierarchy of data containing different sections for different values, and hundreds or even thousands of records. Using more complex structures, your program can save and restore objects so it can easily use those objects at run time.
Other articles in this series show how to use XML for this and other more interesting purposes. Meanwhile, download MSXML and the example programs, and give it a try. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find that XML makes loading and saving data trivial. For modest data needs, you may never need to use text files, a database, or the system registry again.
For more information on using XML in VB.NET, see my book Visual Basic.NET and XML (http://www.vb-helper.com/xml.htm).