I have long been frustrated and unsatisfied with the setup I have at work. I have been running OpenSuSE 11.3 with great joy, but as it phased out of official existence I tried out 11.4, got lots of bugs, jumped on 12.1 with great expectations only to run into the madness that is Gnome3.
I have been using Mint 12 since then, but I feel it has certain odd bugs, even though I keep all packages up-to-date. I am considering Mint 13 or possibly switching back to OpenSuSE with XFCE, perhaps even trying out Fedora. Problem is that I can not keep fiddling around with my PC for days, in the middle of projects.
I am not a guru but by no means a complete newbie to the tux world either. I have migrated to a different distro a couple of times before but I find it to be rather tricky business. You take backups of everything, repartition the hdd to make sure the old setup is not destroyed in case the new distro doesn't work, so you can at least boot into the old one etc.
Is there a way to make the switch as painless and seamless as possible? How can I avoid losing my data both as documents etc, but also preferences/settings that I have fixed over the months/years?