system slowdown

My Performa 635 CD has recently begun operating very slowly.  The CD drive is crawling, a largish Claris Works word processing file takes much longer to launch and to save than it did last week.  Even typing in is sluggish.  Sometimes text is garbled or doesn't appear.  I have reinstalled system 7.5.3 and finder and CD related extensions from my back-up, run Tech Tool to renew desktop with extensions on, and again with them off, and zap PRAM.  I disabled a number of extensions when things slowed down-I think the unnecessary ones. I checked for viruses with Disinfectant (3.6 I think)  I considered dumping all preferences and the Claris ones that live in a seperate file, but I'm chicken.  Can anybody help?
My Mac has 36MB of RAM, disk cache set at 512, 68040 CPU, 250 meg HD that is not full, Zip drive.  Thank you in advance
bakingAsked:
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paulvaneykelenConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Any particular reason the answer was not accepted. Are you looking for more information, and if you do, what?

Regards,
Paul
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paulvaneykelenCommented:
When you drag the pref folder to the desktop and restart the computer, nothing bad is going to happen. Just certain settings will be gone.

You should also upgrade your system to 7.5.5. Check how much memory the system is using and remove any extensions you don't thing you need. Make sure you have a boot floppy, Just in case you delete a little but too much
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starmaxCommented:
I have found that the operating system 7.6.1 seems to speed the old computers up a little. I have a IIsi at home and it has done wonders. Removeing the as Paul Vaneykelen Said there is no harm in removeing the preferences from the system folder. Also as previosly stated try zapping the pram but, try rebuilding the desktop (hold the command and option.) that should get you setting good to go.

P.S. it is a good idea to optimize after reinstalling or upgrading system software.
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bakingAuthor Commented:
As I had already done PRAM zapping, desktop rebuilding etc., I needed more advice, deeper advice.  That is why I set the difficulty level to moderate, rather than easy.  Of course, moderate meant moderate to the experts, not to me.  I had a lot of trouble, and to me it was a difficult problem.
The hard drive required reinitializing, during which I lost some stuff, but I got my speed back up.  In the end, I guessed a fragmentation problem, which was confirmed by user group people here.  But thanks anyway.  
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bakingAuthor Commented:
I'm sorry, but I felt that my troubles were much deeper than what could be fixed by a prefs dumping, and as I originally indicated I had done extension dumping already, so that wasn't the ticket.  Thanks anyway.
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