Snow Leopard Mac getting sluggish

When I first bought my Mac a couple years back, it ran so beautiful. Now it's starting to get really sluggish and crashes from time to time. I'm rather new to the Mac. What are the first steps I should take. Back in my Windows days, I would do Disk-defragment and stuff like that.

Any ideas?
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The drive clearly has enough room.

Try opening Disk Utility (found in /Applications/Utilities) Click on the hard drive in the left window and make a note of the S.M.A.R.T. status at the bottom right. If it says "verified' your drive is physically okay.

Next run "Verify Disk" and report back whether reports any errors.

Secondly, you could download the freeware Onxy and run the maintenance scripts and clear the caches:

Also download and run the freeware DNSChanger removal tool:

Defragging makes next to no difference on a Mac.
well you could start off by making sure you done have a ton of things running at startup and in the Background.

Second you can run a fsck on your hard disk.  
or in the Disk Utility run the verify disk and repair options in for that HDD..

That should be a good start.
How much free space do you have on your drive? If your drive is more than 85% full, that is likely a major cause of your problem.
greghollAuthor Commented:
Capacity 500 GB
Available 117 GB
Used 383 GB
greghollAuthor Commented:
Thank you very much for your help. Like my Grandma used to say "Now we're cookin' with gas!"
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