I was installing SharePoint for the thousandth time last week on our new internal server and could not get the Search Server to start successfully from Central Administration. When i tried to start the service i got an error page with 2 short lines of text:
SPSearch ([search service account])
After a day of verifying all the users details and permissions it hit me to try to use the domain before the username. This simple change fixed everything but i can’t remember ever running into it before.