I'm unable to back-up using tar because I'm getting the error message "/home/<username>/.gvfs: Cannot stat: Permission denied" followed by termination of the process. The ls -al command indicates the existence of file /home/<username>/.gvfs but all the file properties including permissions, names, size and date are indicated by "?" and I cannot remove it. The file (actually an empty directory) appears to be created or modified at start-up and cannot be removed by the normal delete commands.
I have had this problem (or something like it) in the past, but I can't remember how it was fixed (if it WAS fixed).
My set-up is an old Compaq Presario desk-top with an AMD Sempron 3000 processor and 1 GB RAM running PCLinuxOS/LXDE 2012/1 (I think).
Apologies if this is an old problem and the answer is available in existing posts (I have searched fairly carefully), and/or I have placed this post in the wrong category. Any help will be gratefully received.