A few months ago, when Mac OS X Lion came out, I tried installing it on the Mac Mini in the living room. It failed. Miserably. After a couple of hours of trying different things (including making a bootable USB installation disk) I gave up, since it had thankfully not horked the Snow Leopard install. Life went on.
I had hoped that a newer release might have fix the issue, which was apparently related to having the internal disks in a RAID set. The symptom is that Lion would boot and get stuck with a rolling candy bar. With 10.7.2, I still had issues. I went brave and decided to nuke the internal drives (which required some diskutil CLI love in the form of having eraseDisk go on both internal drives for a few minutes, enough to remove the RAID metadata). Progress ensued.
But then got the cryptic, unhelpful, and decidedly generic “There was a problem installing Mac OS X. Try reinstalling” message.
Oh well, nothing the Googletron couldn’t take care of.
And so another Lion cub is roaming the house, stuck in the living room, restoring entertainment media.