When using the Active Roles Console to attempt to Promote a SQL server instance to a Publisher, the operation fails with the error:
Access to the path 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\...\' is denied
The SQL Server Agent service account on the Publisher does not have the necessary permissions needed in order to configure Merge Replication.
For more information on configuring the SQL Server Agent service account, see the section titled Replication agent permissions in the Active Roles Quick Start Guide.
NOTE: If the service account which is running the SQL Server Agent is changed, it is necessary to restart both the SQL Service as well as the SQL Agent Service.