How to approach for issue: SQL server is running slow

We have few SQL servers 2005 running on Win 2003 VM. Often they run sluggish.

What would be troubleshooting steps that we should follow to get into some conclusions?

Mostly we reboot the server and things become fine. We loss quite a bit of business due to this. We want to put set to best practices in place so that we get the solutions without doing any reboot or atleast minimum reboots.

Please help.
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Aneesh RetnakaranDatabase AdministratorCommented:
if reboot fixes this, the long list of reasons could be
 - issue with tempdb
 - parameter sniffing
 - memory
Mohammed KhawajaManager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
Few suggestions:

1. Run Performance Monitor and collect statistics for CPU, Memory, Disk, etc.
2. Check your pagefile size, if file size is too large (i.e. memory=4 GB, pagefile=16 GB) then there will be numerous paging
3. Select maximum memory limit on your SQL server
4. Ensure unnecessary services/apps are not running

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Just as a reminder SQL 2005 is off mainstream support
SQL Server 2005 Support Information
On April 12, 2011, SQL Server 2005 transitioned from Mainstream Support to Extended SupportSupport
Windows Server 2003 is likewise off mainstream support

'tactical' suggestions have already been made above
'strategically' you might need to start planning for upgrades (HW/OS/DBMS)
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Microsoft SQL Server 2005

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