Can You Downgrade The Expression To 2.1 For Use With SCAL?

The Cricut Expression is one of the legacy machines of Cricut. It has since been discontinued but there are still plenty of people who use it. But the problem here is that newer firmware versions of the Expression are not compatible with Sure Cuts a Lot or SCAL because you need to only use firmware 2.1 for that software. That said, can you downgrade your Cricut Expression to 2.1 if you want to use SCAL for it?


It is possible to downgrade the Cricut Expression to firmware version 2.1 even though Cricut itself would say that this is impossible. But it will take a bit of work to do so as the entire process can be quite tedious. Still, the fact is that it is quite possible to downgrade back to version 2.1 with your Expression.

Your Cricut Expression would be able to do plenty of things if you use it with SCAL. Still, you would need firmware version 2.1 if you want to use SCAL because the newer versions won’t work with it. As complicated as it may seem to downgrade your Expression to firmware version 2.1, the good news here is that we have outlined a process that will work even if the entire process might sound a bit tedious to do.

Is it possible to downgrade Expression to 2.1 to use SCAL? 

When it comes to different software that you can use for Cricut, Sure Cuts a Lot or SCAL is one of the more useful ones that can bring out the best in your creative side. SCAL is pretty popular among DIY arts and crafts enthusiasts who are great at blending technology with their creative sides.

In that regard, the Cricut Expression is one of the more useful machines because it is affordable and very effective even though it is already an older legacy Cricut machine. But the problem with the Expression is that you won’t be able to use it with SCAL if you actually have an Expression that is updated to its latest firmware. And the reason for that is due to how the latest Expression update was released after SCAL was discontinued in terms of its updates.

SCAL Image

As such, if you still insist on using SCAL even if it has been discontinued, the only way for you to use your Expression with this software is to downgrade your Expression to firmware version 2.1, which was the last version that could be used together with SCAL. But the issue here is that Cricut would tell you that it is impossible to downgrade the Expression’s firmware down to 2.1 once you have already updated it. So, is it really possible to downgrade back to 2.1?

The good news is that, yes, it is possible for you to downgrade the Expression’s firmware to 2.1 if you really want to use it with SCAL. Don’t let Cricut make you think that this is

impossible to do. While it might be impossible to do it in the normal way, there are some workarounds that you could use to actually downgrade it back to 2.1, and that is what we are here to talk about.

How to downgrade Expression to 2.1

Now that you already know that you can downgrade your Cricut Expression to firmware version 2.1, let’s look at a quick outline on how you could do it:

Cricut Expression Electronic Cutting Machine
  1. Install the Cricut Design Studio version 1.0.11106.0 using a Windows XP virtual machine on your computer. You would need an entirely different article to learn how to use a Windows XP virtual machine but that won’t be too hard to do once you just follow the instructions carefully.
  2. Plug the Cricut Expression into your computer, which is running the Windows XP virtual machine. From there, what you need to do is to hold down the stop button on the machine and, while doing so, turn the Cricut on using its power button. The moment it turns on, stop pressing the power button while you are still holding down on the stop button. This will prompt the device to beep and turn on all of the lights, which should prompt you to take your finger off the stop button.
  3. After you have stopped holding the stop button, go back to your virtual machine and then assign your Cricut to your virtual machine. Your Windows XP should be able to detect the Cricut machine just like any other computer would.
  4. On your Windows XP virtual machine, open Cricut Design Studio and then click Continue in Trial Mode. Take note that the software will still update the Expression’s firmware while it is in Trial Mode.
  5. From there, go to Help then go to Update Firmware. This should take time, and that is why it might be useful to use a laptop with plenty of battery life and is plugged in to make sure that you won’t end up losing your progress in case the power goes out.
  6. After that, select Cricut Expression and then click Update Firmware Now to begin the update process. When the update has started, don’t touch anything on both your computer and your Cricut machine especially after the progress update box has shown up. This may take a while, and that is why you have to make sure that your computer doesn’t end up losing power or doesn’t go to sleep while the update is ongoing. Still, don’t do anything with both your Cricut Expression and your computer because an interruption in the update process will end up damaging the Cricut machine.
  7. When the software has completed the update on your Cricut Expression, the machine will begin to move its cutting tool and will finally reboot. Just leave it alone and don’t touch it. From there, you should be able to see on the screen the message “Cricut V2.1 OK”. That is when you are sure that your Cricut Expression has now been downgraded to version 2.1.
  8. After downgrading your Cricut Expression to 2.1, you are now free to use it with SCAL.

Now You Know

Now that you know how to make the Cricut Expression compatible with todays technology, break out that antique cutter or jump on Facebook Marketplace and snag one up for cheap. Then get to crafting your heart out!

Related articles and tips

Be sure to check out some other nifty functional craft ideas through our other posts here on Craft-ILY as well as checking out some videos on DIY and How To’s over on YouTube. Look for “Crafting Unedited” or just click the name in blue to see!


Hi! I’m Cierra and I’m a craftaholic! I’ve been crafting for a few years now and it’s honestly become my zen. I love crafting, fitness, spending time with my family and friends doing whatever the day allows, peacocks (hence the logo), the beach and adrenaline - give me all the roller coasters and fast cars!

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