There are two main time outs that occur on Windows systems:
Resource Time Outs (kernel mode)
Critical Section Time Outs (user mode)
In many cases, these problems are simply a matter of a thread taking too long to release a resource or exit a section of code.
On a retail system, the time-out value is set high enough that you would not see the break (a true deadlock would simply hang). The time-out values are set in the registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager. The integer values specify the number of seconds in each time out.