I'm all for layman's terms and user-friendliness, but this is so insane.
I tried installing Mac OS X 10.4 ('Tiger') yesterday and the DVD adamantly refused to verify my startup disk as installable. It had the space, the computer's specs were up to snuff and (more confusingly) the installer refused to tell me exactly what was wrong - it just suggested trying again. So I did, twice. No dice.
So I ran a disk check. Turns out, I've got a file allocation problem (ie, two files are trying to use the same block of the disk at the same time. Not that the installer told me that, or anything.) I could handle that. Problem was, it wouldn't tell me which two and adamantly refused to repair the disk.
It looked like I had two options: backup my hard drive to some non-existent drive or repair it in a different way.
And then I remembered I still had a bootable Mac OS 9 (remember that?) system folder on my drive. I rebooted into 9 and ran Disk First Aid. Not only did this four-year-old Apple program correctly diagnose the problem, it told me which files were getting confused and placed aliases to the files on the root level to my hard drive. Nuked the files, repaired the disk again to be sure and reran the installer. Worked like a charm.
What I want to know is, while the information I needed was slightly technical, why doesn't the modern disk utility program actually help instead of just saying 'bzzt. Sorry. Start over and accomplish nothing or wipe your disk and lose everything' when the fix took me all of thirty seconds to implement? User-friendliness is great and all, but it means nothing if I can't actually install the stuff I need without advanced technical knowledge. What's so odd is, it apparently used to be easy. Don't get it.
As to tiger...yowza. Dashboard is quite possibly the handiest thing I've ever seen, Safari's RSS aggregator is extremely groovy and Spotlight...well, I'll let you know once my disk's been indexed. My only gripe at the moment is that 'bonjour' is an extremely stupid new name for 'Rendezvous'. Why they insisted on keeping it all French and whatnot is beyond me.