Told ya I wasn't a guru darnit !
lol ... Just pointing out something that could be a factor in the future. Rather than ye being biased against all backup util's cause of a bad experience. Some no doubt work fantastically. Others no doubt work well if someone knows their limitations.
Mainly it's just more of my random linux babblings though, shrugs.
No worries, I decided I would try your suggestion anyway, and reinstalled Mint with a single / (root) partition, which means the disk space available should be the same, or greater, as before. I've now been waiting 10 minutes while the backup Tool (mintBackup) tells me it's "Calculating".
Perhaps it doesn't like that the original files were stored on an ext3 file system, perhaps it doesn't like being moved from Helena to Isadora, perhaps it doesn't like the Sara Moon Print on my wall, perhaps the tool is broken.
I'm just p1553d off because it was the emails and contact list my friend was most worried about preserving, and I was stupid enough to trust an application class I've always been suspicious of since before I even started using Linux.. and that was a long time ago. The photos and other documents my friend had already backed up, using the tried and true method of copying them to a external hard drive.