Are antiquated systems bogging down your processes and preventing your employees from being productive? While upgrading to the newest and fastest computer technology would be ideal, this isn’t always a budget priority for nonprofits and associations.

General Maintenance

A quick fix to consider before spending any money is to perform some basic computer maintenance to see if this alleviates some computer performance issues:

  • Uninstall old and unused software – it’s just taking up disk space and computer memory.
  • Run your anti-virus software to be sure viruses, spyware, and malware aren’t consuming computing resources.
  • Investigate other utilities available with your operating system, such as error-checking and defragmentation tools for your hard drive.

Computer Hardware

Still not happy with performance? Here are some suggestions for cost-effective hardware upgrades for existing systems.

  • RAM – Increase the amount of RAM, especially if the computer slows down when running several programs at once.
  • Hard drive (internal) – Upgrade to a bigger hard drive with more storage capacity. For slow computers, upgrading to a faster spinning hard drive may improve overall performance. Consider a Solid State Drive (SSD) that doesn’t spin, which is significantly faster and has fewer moving components that might fail.
  • Hard drive (external) – If your existing drive is performing well enough, consider adding an external drive. Since completely replacing a hard drive requires transferring existing files and reinstalling the OS, an external drive could be the solution to a storage-only problem.

Computer Software

On the software side, be sure to install the latest updates for your OS and application software. This ensures that you:

  • Have the newest features available, especially when it comes to data security.
  • Have the most stable software version that may also increase system performance.
  • Don’t have older software that is no longer supported, or is scheduled to be discontinued.

Software updates are free and worth the time to install because they fix the bugs in the software. Of course, with SaaS (cloud) software, there is no need to manually update, as any new features and fixes are automatically made available with each new release.


The most cost-effective way to breathe life into an existing computer system is to:

  • Perform general maintenance on existing systems.
  • Add more RAM to make your computer perform a lot faster.
  • Install a newer technology hard drive (internal).
  • Add an additional hard drive (external) if your computer is low on disk storage.
  • Be sure you’re running the latest available version for your OS and application software.

Remember, time is money, and a slow running computer system may be costing you in terms of daily productivity and efficiency.