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If your account being utilized for your search/index crawl jobs keeps getting "locked out" of Active Directory, check your SPS proxy server settings.  If you utilize a proxy server, set your proxy server settings in your form to "Do not use proxy server" even if you have one. 

As of 07 OCT 2003, Windows sharepoint Services contains a flaw in the proxy/search configuration where the stored credentials get mangled which could result in a lockout of the account.

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